Warriors two-way guard Beekman passes eye test in summer league debut

Author:
NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – A two-way NBA contract can be like an internship, a young player learning while watching others do what they’ve been doing for a year or more. It’s a foot in the door.

Reece Beekman, who on Wednesday signed a two-way contract with the Warriors, might have the goods to get both feet in the door and on the floor.

Golden State Summer League coach Anthony Vereen did not shy from the possibility after Beekman orchestrated a 105-66 icing of the Miami Heat on Saturday in the California Classic at Chase Center.

“The sky’s the limit for Reece,” Vereen said. “You don’t know how it will look, but I really feel, because of his defensive presence and his change-of-pace ability coming off the bench, that he could have a chance.”

Hyperbole? Maybe. Beekman finished with 10 points, on 3-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep, the second triple beating the halftime buzzer by 0.4 seconds. He had only one assist but rang up several “hockey” assists while directing traffic.

But the eye test, even in the relatively loose sphere of NBA Summer League, concurred with Vereen’s implication. It’s conceivable Beekman could see the floor more often than veteran Cory Joseph did last season.

In making made his summer league debut Saturday, Beekman’s defensive impact – he’s a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year – was evident. He’s a menace. But his floor generalship was notable. He knows how to run an offense.

Something else, however, caught Vereen’s eye.

“When you hear ACC Defensive Player of the Year, two times, and when you see it, it just jumps off the page,” Vereen said. “What I didn’t know was how well he can push the ball and play at this speed.”

The 6-foot-2 point guard was a four-year starter at the University of Virginia, which under coach Tony Bennett has a reputation for defense and discipline, defense and deliberate offense. Beekman’s role on offense was to organize, which he did in a fashion that could have come from a Chris Paul blueprint.

Bennett’s system is such that Beekman’s rarely had opportunities to display his athleticism. The NBA’s pace-and-space trend is new to him, but he seemed comfortable in transition.

“This week, we did a really good job working on getting the ball up the court during our practices,” Beekman said. “I think that the transition for me is not going to be too hard. I like to play at a faster pace, and I think I’m very capable of doing that as well.”

Beekman doesn’t have the stunning quickness of, say, a De’Aaron Fox, but the Heat struggled to keep up.

It was a move Beekman made in the first quarter that made it apparent he has more burst than might have been perceived coming out of college, where his quickness and burst were rated as average.

Bringing the ball up the court, Beekman sensed an opening in Miami’s defense and exploited it, slithering his way to the basket where he casually lifted off and dunked the ball softly through. It was smooth and elegant, as if he does it all the time.

“I think I’m pretty athletic,” Beekman said. “Sometimes, I don’t show it, or the opportunities are not there. But when I’m in those positions, I have the ability to do that. With this new spacing, that could be very helpful just to help me showcase stuff like that.”

Every point guard as a favorite, someone whose game was admired and proved influential. For Beekman, it’s Kyrie Irving on offense and Jrue Holiday on defense.

It’s not delusional to believe that sometime next season, Beekman will have a chance to be on the same floor as those he studied in college.

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