Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Beau Beech (9) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
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Fan favorite, Beau Beech, out of the University of North Florida has received a partially guaranteed contract from the Brooklyn Nets after not being selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. Beech’s lengthy frame, and smooth jumper demonstrate some potential for future success in the NBA. However, his lack of a true position and inexperience against NBA talent may lead to him being cut before the season begins.
It was reported that when Beech first arrived at North Florida’s practice facility, he alerted coach Matthew Driscoll that he was going to become the first player from the program to make it to the NBA. He would then go on to lead North Florida to their first NCAA tournament bid ever while averaging 15.9 points and 6.5 rebounds his senior year. Now, Beech will look to add another achievement to his vast list of accomplishments by playing in the NBA.
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However, this feat is looking very improbable for Beech after being benched in the Nets first two preseason games. He will need to show a lot in the final weeks of preseason in order to convince the organization to keep him. If not, then a trip to the Nets D-League affiliate in Long Island is the next probable destination for Beech.
However, perhaps Beech showed enough in Las Vegas Summer League for Brooklyn to give him a final look before roster cuts are made. Over the summer, the 6’9″ swingman averaged 8.8 points per game on 38 percent shooting from the field in a starting role for the Nets. Beech had no issue launching the ball from behind the arc and lucky for him, his shot was on point during several key games in Las Vegas.
His combination of length and three point shooting was enough for Sean Marks to offer him a partially guaranteed contract to join the team in training camp and preseason.
Standing at 6’9″ and weighing in at 215 pounds, Beech was more than capable of playing power forward against lackluster competition in the Atlantic Sun Conference. However, his frame as it currently stands will not translate to being a productive four in the NBA. This transition has proved to be hard for him, as he was primarily played at shooting guard and small forward in Summer League, and in a scrimmage during the Nets open practice.
Here are three things Beech must do in order to be in the NBA following cut day.
Dec 2, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; North Florida Ospreys guard Beau Beech (2) celebrates after a basket against the LSU Tigers during the first half of a game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Stick to his strengths
While some players fighting for a roster spot may try to play “hero ball” in order to get noticed and make a team, Beech simply needs to stick what he can do best. Luckily for Beech, many of his strong points fit the Nets’ culture.
Everyone knows about his smooth touch from the behind the arc. Beech’s three point shot is clearly his strongest asset on the court as he shot 39 percent from behind the arc in College. However, Beech should know his limitations. While he impressed in some big games during Summer League, Beech also had a handful of awful shooting nights. To avoid this, he should only take the best available shots, as he did consistently under less pressure in college.
Despite what some may think from his flashy display of shooting from July, Beech also has the potential to be a lock down defender. With a height of 6’9″, he has more than enough length to cover wings in the NBA. Fans got to see his defensive potential on full display in Las Vegas as he regularly contested shots at the rim and used his length to disrupt plays. This is a skill that he has seldom had the chance to show in preseason but will ideally get to display at some point before cut day arrives.
As Beech stated in an interview last month, it is very hard to cut someone who shoots 40-50 percent from the field. As a senior at North Florida, he shot 45.5 percent from the field, a stat that is almost unheard of for a player who thrives in three point shooting. This shows that in college, he was a high IQ player who only took the most efficient shots available; something that should be valued highly valued by Kenny Atkinson and his Atlanta Hawks background.
Mar 18, 2015; Dayton, OH, USA; North Florida Ospreys guard/forward Beau Beech (2) shoots over Robert Morris Colonials forward Elijah Minnie (5) during the second half in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at UD Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Take advantage of every minute
Beech did not receive a minute of playing time from Atkinson and the Nets coaching staff in the first two preseason games against the, New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons. Yet, as the regular season approaches, the coaching staff will want to maximize the starting lineup’s time to rest, which will lead to several opportunities for Beech to play.
With this lack of playing time in the first few games, it will be crucial for Beech to take advantage of every minute he has on the floor. In turn, the biggest action he can take will be not slacking on either end of the floor.
Even if Beech only gets garbage minutes in the fourth quarter, it will be necessary for him to hustle for every loose ball and remain focused on the defensive end of the floor. This effort fits the Nets new culture and will be noticed by fans and management.
Beech played in 133 games over the course of four years at North Florida while averaging 28.8 minutes per game. After having to carry a team night in and night out for the past couple of years, Beech should have no issue subbing into a game in a supporting role and giving maximum effort.
Mar 18, 2015; Dayton, OH, USA; North Florida Ospreys guard/forward Beau Beech (2) reacts after a shot during the second half against the Robert Morris Colonials in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at UD Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It was difficult for Beech to create for himself and others at North Florida, as shown by his 1.7 turnovers per game average in college. He needs to know that attempting to be a primary ball handler is simply not realistic, or needed from him in the NBA.
Beech will never be asked to take over a game offensively, as he was often badgered to do in college. He will be expected to take on a supporting role. When he gets consistent minutes in the preseason, it is very crucial for him to embrace this role.
Things could get very ugly for Beech if he attempts to take charge on offense, as turnovers will come at a high rate for him against NBA competition. Yogi Ferrell, for example, attempted to take charge in the Nets first preseason game against Detroit after making a few flashy plays, only to be met with three turnovers by the end of the night. It is essential for Beech to not have a night similar to Ferrell’s up and down performance.
Turnovers are the worst mistake rookies can make when attempting to make the final roster. They lower team morale, kill the flow of an offense and often lead to a fast break bucket on the other end of the floor. It is crucial for Beech to make smart plays and not cause turnovers.
The margin for error is exceptionally low as only a couple of turnovers could be the difference between Beech being cut or making the team.