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Easy to Root For: On Picking MarJon Beauchamp

Another good story in a line of them for Milwaukee

2022 NBA Draft Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

There are no certainties with the NBA Draft. When the Milwaukee Bucks opted to select MarJon Beauchamp with their 24th selection, it signaled a few things. From a basketball standpoint, his 6’6” body and 7’1” wingspan fit a body type they sorely need, infusing youthful athleticism to a graying roster. From a personal standpoint, well, all you need to see is this:

I have no clue if Beauchamp will be a rotation player or a star. Odds are he won’t be either. But what I do know is his story, winding and turbulent through multiple high schools, a community college back home, a suddenly shuttered NBA training program and ultimately emerging on the G League Ignite, is undeniable. When you hear the emotion in his voice on the phone, see it in the green room, how can you not root for this guy? Such is the case for many players that have come to settle in Milwaukee, a team that is increasingly the living embodiment of “easy to root for.”

Starting from its joking, selfless leader in Giannis Antetokounmpo on down the low-key roster, I’ve come to appreciate the general down-to-earth attitude across this franchise’s roster-building approach. Turns out a “No assholes” policy makes for a pretty pleasant fan experience. Drama may be the primary currency of the NBA media, but the Bucks seem content not cashing in.

Is all this feel-goodery a lot easier to bask in with a title in hand? Sure. And it doesn’t preclude me from questioning team decisions or finding frustration when they come up short, but Beauchamp is another opportunity to find joy in the day-to-day. That’s something worth celebrating for a team that’s about to embark on another regular season grind before we reach the main event.

All that being said, this is still ultimately about Milwaukee banking wins, and there are legitimate questions marks about Beauchamp. His shooting splits are erratic, with 27% from deep in the G League but 72% from the line. That’ll be the swing skill of course, without it his high-end outcome could potentially be Matisse Thybulle? He’ll need to find all the other little things to contribute, leaking out in transition, causing defensive havoc, cutting when the opportunity presents itself. All are viable skills that work best on a team that can utilize him in a complementary role, i.e. Milwaukee.

Beauchamp is nearly 22, but he also hasn’t played much organized basketball in a few years. He went straight to a cut-short training program after high school, nearly quit the game altogether during COVID, and then picked it back up with community college players before leaping directly to the G League Ignite? That’s a fairly fast ramp-up in terms of competition, and the fact he acquitted himself even decently seems like something worth gambling on.

There’s still the chance Beauchamp gets moved once free agency starts and Grayson Allen’s new contract gets guaranteed. Maybe he sticks around and his shot is horrid. Or he delivers some impact defensive moments from the jump. It’s silly speculation season right now, anything can be on the table. We have no clue where Beauchamp will go in his career, but we do know where he’s been. For now, that’s enough to make me a fan.