MarJon Beauchamp’s story reads like a Hollywood script.
From considering a break from basketball to playing his way into the 2022 NBA Draft green room in the span of 15 months, the 6-foot-6 wing’s journey has been a whirlwind.
After joining Chameleon BX — a training program for draft hopefuls that flopped — instead of going to a four-year college, he attended a junior college in his hometown of Yakima, Wash., then landed with G-League Ignite, the NBA’s developmental team for top prospects. Those moves have led him to the doorstep of a lifelong dream.
“I feel like I’ve found myself and learned new things about myself,” he said on a pre-draft Zoom call on Friday. “I’ve grown as a man, and taken steps to where I need to be.”
That roller-coaster ride of his certainly seems to be on the way up, and he could lead him to New York City. Beauchamp, 21, recently had an individual workout with the Knicks and went out to dinner with head coach Tom Thibodeau and team president Leon Rose.
“I feel like I’m in consideration with them,” Beauchamp said, adding, “I think I can come in right away and play good minutes and learn from the vets that they have. I really, really feel I can grow with that team, especially on the defensive side. You know, with coach Thibs, he’s about defense, and I feel like that’s going to be my role in the NBA.”
One NBA scout familiar with Beauchamp said the Knicks taking him at No. 11 would be somewhat of a reach, but also noted that teams’ projections for him are all over the map, from the back-end of the lottery to the mid-to -late 20s. He has worked out for teams such as the Hawks (who will 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-and-D prospect at the moment — his jumper isn’t one of his strong suits; he shot 24.2 percent from distance in the G-League — but his length (he has a 7-foot-1 wingspan), defensive versatility and raw athleticism are strengths that make him attractive to teams.
“He’s more of a Brandon Clarke-type of versatile defender. Really active, great motor, you don’t need to run any plays for him,” the scout said. “A glue guy who can fit around other types of players.”
With G-League Ignite, Beauchamp performed well, second on the team in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (7.3). His best asset was his effectiveness in transition, according to a second source who spent a lot of time with Ignite. He did a lot for the G-League team, also tallying 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in a team-high 36.6 minutes.
“He’s better in the open court than he is in the half court,” the source said. “His mid-range stuff is good. He did not shoot the ball from 3 — his numbers were poor — but there’s nothing wrong with his shot. He just had to do it more.
“Score in transition and make mid-range shots off of pin-downs, he became really efficient 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 according to plan, partly because the COVID-19 pandemic created restrictions for the San Francisco-based training program. He returned home last February, and was unsure what to do. He ultimately joined Yakima Valley, a local junior college, where he averaged 30.7 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a shortened 12-game season. That helped him land with G-League Ignite after training with former NBA champion Mike Miller.
“I was very close to giving up the game when I moved back to Yakima from Chameleon BX,” Beauchamp said. “That was probably the hardest time in my life. It was pretty tough because I didn’t have any opportunities. Like they said, they love you when you’re at your highest, but when you’re at your lowest, you don’t really hear from anyone. That was the position I was in.”
Now, Beauchamp is hearing from plenty of teams. He could hear from the Knicks next Thursday.