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Mad for Malik: Should the Hornets take a chance on FSU's Iron Man?

Malik Beasley will be in the green room Thursday night. Could he don a purple and teal hat on the big stage? That could be up to Charlotte's team doctors.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets' June ritual has usually been plucking one of the glamorous green room attendees during the summer's NBA Draft. With the 22nd pick this year, you might expect the Hornets' choice to be on the phone in his living room Thursday night instead of on stage, in a stylish suit, shaking hands with Adam Silver.

According to Jonathan Givony of The Vertical, the NBA has a small list of green room players this June because of the expected fluidity of this draft. They don't want any Brady Quinn's or Aaron Rodgers'.

Even with the low pick and the NBA's trimmed down guest list, Charlotte still may have the opportunity to put someone on the big stage, donning a purple and teal hat.

Florida State freshman Malik Beasley was a late addition to this year's green room crop and he's heavy on the minds of Buzz City and the organization that runs it.


Beasley earned Freshman All-American honors during his lone season at Florida State. He scored in double-figures in his first 24 games in a Seminole uniform, two games short of tying Stephon Marbury's ACC record opening double-figure scoring streak.

The Alpharetta native was the ACC's best freshman shooter this season and he does so with a beautiful stroke. Beasley knocked down 39 percent of his 3-pointers and 81 percent of his free throws. His mechanics are superb and he combines that with deep range on his jumper. Overall, Beasley is likely one of the 2-3 best shooters in this year's draft.

He's not solely a 3-point shooter, his offensive game is far more versatile than that. He can hit from deep consistently but he also has a solid mid-range game and is pure with his shot coming off of screens on pull-ups. His catch-and-shoot ability is ready for this level. There's a small sample size for his floater game, just 14 attempts last season, but it was effective, dropping in eight of those attempts.

Beasley is an athletic player. Evidenced by this. Or this. Or this. Or even this against a contesting Brandon Ingram.

He's a natural athlete with a quick first step and explosive burst that he uses to rise for a dunk or blow by his man. Beasley can be hard to handle in transition.

I like his intangibles as a player too. Florida State had other talented players on the perimeter last season, namely Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, yet Beasley found a way to be productive despite not always being the first option. He can make plays within the offense and doesn't always need the ball in his hands, marking his unselfish attitude. Competitiveness, I think, is becoming more important to NBA GMs by the day and Beasley has desire, he plays with effort and he competes. By all indications, Beasley was also a great teammate, and all of that is very important to the Hornets organization.


Beasley doesn't have elite size but I don't think he has bad size for his position, especially at 19 years old. He's not a particularly long athlete, measuring 6'5" with a 6'7" wingspan.

His lack of length could be trouble down the line in guarding NBA wings. He'll struggle initially on the defensive end of the floor anyway. His 190-pound frame needs to be improved on and he has some things to clean up in his overall game on that end.

He needs to improve his discipline on defense, and if the Hornets make him their pick, Steve Clifford will have Beasley on the end of the bench for much of his rookie season if he doesn't stay fundamentally sound and discipline within Charlotte's system.

The only lacking part of Beasley's offensive game is his ability to make plays for others. He's a playmaker but for himself, not for others. He's not a great facilitator, averaging more turnovers than assists during his year in Tallahassee. Improving his handle should help in that area but I think it's a little more than that. Some players are born with above average court vision and some are not. Beasley may have it in him but he gets tunnel vision sometimes when on the floor.

The biggest question with the one-and-done star is his health. Shortly after entering the NBA Draft, Beasley and his agent decided to have surgery to repair a stress fracture he suffered during the season. He played with the pain and didn't think anything of it until it really started to affect him in March. Now he has a rod through his right tibia.

"I'm Iron Man now," he jokingly told CBS Sports when discussing the new piece of metal in his body.

Because of the procedure Beasley has not worked out for any teams during the process, just conducted interviews. Our only look of him on a court was when he stood in the corner and drained 3s during his agency's pro day in Las Vegas.

What do doctors think about his right leg? That could make him available at 22, but it also could keep him in the green room late into the night.


Charlotte is in an unfortunate situation because of how much unknown they face entering the draft. The Hornets will have the same number of contracted players as unrestricted free agents on July 1. Throw in restricted free agents Troy Daniels and the non-guaranteed deal of Aaron Harrison and the roster looks barren.

Beasley would be adding another good wing to the rotation and a player that would help the Hornets get buckets when it's get buckets time. He doesn't have the ball-handling skills of Jeremy Lin so he wouldn't fill the secondary ball-handler duties that Charlotte so enjoyed having last season.

It could take a few years for Beasley to consistently get on the court for this win-now team but Rich Cho loves his assets and Beasley, with his rookie-scale contract, is an asset for a team that's lacking in that area.