The 2016 NBA Draft takes place tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY and for the first time since Bernard James in 2012, the Noles appear poised to have a player selected. That player being FSU’s second leading scorer (just behind fellow freshman, Dwayne Bacon) last season Malik Beasley. In fact, if the NBA mock drafts prove to be true, Malik has an outside chance become the highest drafted basketball player from FSU since Al Thornton was taken by the Clippers with the 14th pick in the 2007 draft—as long as an injury doesn’t send him sliding down the draft night board.
Beasley came to FSU as a consensus top 30 recruit out of Alpharetta, Georgia and while there were expectations that he could one day be an NBA draft pick, not many expected it to happen this soon. Back in August, Beasley wasn’t on any mock draft or big boards. Even during the early season games, Malik was no where near the top 60.
However, Malik—a noted gym rat—flourished in Leonard Hamilton’s up-tempo offense and combined elite athleticism with terrific perimeter shooting to quickly grab scouts’ attention. Fast forward to May and Malik’s stock had been transformed from a top 30 freshman to a top 30 prospect (not to be confused with “player”) eligible for this year’s draft, despite being slightly undersized for an NBA shooting guard.
So what’s the one potential fly in tonight’s ointment? A recent leg surgery. Unbeknownst to most who follow FSU basketball, Malik battled a stress fracture in his leg all season long. After consulting with doctors at the NBA Combine, he decided it was best to have surgery now and be ready for pre-season workouts.
Based on all reports, the recovery is going well. However, not only has it prevented Malik from fully participating in pre-draft workouts, leg injuries are not something the NBA takes lightly—particularly for a player who relies on explosiveness so much in his game to make up for lack of ideal size.
Nonetheless, the current NBA places a high value on perimeter shooting and that’s one thing Beasley does quite well. Accordingly, he’s been linked to more than a half-dozen teams in the 16-29 range, including his hometown Atlanta Hawks. (Personally, I think he would make a fantastic addition to a team like the Spurs or Warriors, where he could be developed and groomed by those organizations, but I digress). And should Malik become a first round selection, he would also become FSU’s first “one and done” selection.
Where do you think Malik will be drafted? Which teams would be an ideal landing spot?
- The 2016 NBA Draft begins at 8pm ET and will be televised on ESPN. You can also stream it on Watch ESPN.
- Malik will be attending the draft, sitting in the Green Room.
- FSU has had 41 players selected in the NBA Draft, including 10 first round draft picks. The highest Nole ever selected was Dave Cowens going 4th overall in the 1970 draft to the Boston Celtics. The most recent Seminole selected in the first round was Chris Singleton being taken 18th by the Washington Wizards in the 2011 draft.
- Malik would be the 10th Nole drafted during the Leonard Hamilton era.