NBA

MarJon Beauchamp’s crazy journey to the NBA draft could interest the Knicks

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MarJon Beauchamp’s story reads like a Hollywood script.

Whether it’s considering a hiatus from basketball or working his way into the Green Room of the 2022 NBA Draft in the space of 15 months, the 6-foot-6 wing’s journey was a whirlwind.

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After joining Chameleon BX – a failed training program for draft hopefuls – instead of going to four-year college, he attended junior college in his hometown of Yakima, Wash., then landed with G-League Ignite, the NBA development team. for the best prospects. These moves led him to the doorstep of a lifelong dream.

“I feel like I found myself and learned new things about myself,” he said on a pre-draft Zoom call on Friday. “I grew as a man and took steps to get where I need to be.”

His roller coaster ride certainly looks set to go uphill, and it could take him to New York. Beauchamp, 21, recently had one-on-one practice with the Knicks and went out to dinner with head coach Tom Thibodeau and team president Leon Rose.

MarJon Beauchamp had an unconventional path to the NBA draft.
NBAE via Getty Images

“I feel like I’m in consideration with them,” Beauchamp said, adding, “I think I can come in right away and play some good minutes and learn from the veterans that they have. I really, really feel like I can growing with this team, especially on the defensive side. You know, with Coach Thibs, he talks defense, and I feel like that’s going to be my role in the NBA.

An NBA scout familiar with Beauchamp said the Knicks taking him to No. 11 would be somewhat of a reach, but also noted that team projections for him are all over the map, from the back end of the lottery to the mid-to-late 20s. He worked for teams such as the Hawks (who would pick 16th), Rockets (3, 17, 26), Grizzlies (22, 29), Bulls (18), Cavaliers (14), Pelicans (8), Wizards (10), Hornets (13, 15) and Spurs (9, 20, 25).

Beauchamp isn’t a 3-D prospect at the moment – his sweater isn’t one of his strong suits; he’s shot 24.2% from range in the G-League — but his length (he has a 7-foot-1 wingspan), defensive versatility and raw athleticism are things that make him attractive to teams.

“He’s more of a Brandon Clarke-type all-around defender. Really active, great engine, you don’t need to play for him,” the scout said. “A type of glue that can adapt to other types of players.”

With G-League Ignite, Beauchamp performed well, second on the team in points (15.1) and rebounds (7.3). His best feature was his efficiency in transition, according to a second source who has spent a lot of time with Ignite. He did a lot for the G-League side, also collecting 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 36.6 minutes, a team record.

Mar Jon Beauchamp
MarJon Beauchamp will likely be available when the Knicks pick at No. 11.
NBAE via Getty Images

“He’s better in open court than in the half court,” the source said. “His mid-range stuff is good. He didn’t shoot the ball from 3 – his numbers were poor – but there’s nothing wrong with his shooting. He just had to do more.

“Scoring in transition and making mid-range shots from pin-downs, he became really effective that way.”

A highly regarded four-star prospect in high school, Beauchamp joined Chameleon BX in August 2020, hoping to skip a step en route to the NBA. But it didn’t go as planned, in part because the COVID-19 pandemic created restrictions for the San Francisco-based training program. He returned home last February and did not know what to do. He eventually joined Yakima Valley, a local junior college, where he averaged 30.7 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a shortened 12-game season. It helped him land with G-League Ignite after training with former NBA champion Mike Miller.

“I was about to give up the game when I came back to Yakima from Chameleon BX,” Beauchamp said. “It was probably the most difficult period of my life. It was quite difficult because I had no opportunity. Like they said, they love you when you are at the highest, but when you are at the lowest, you don’t really hear from anyone.” That was the position I was in.

Now Beauchamp hears from many teams. He could hear from the Knicks next Thursday.

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