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Where are UVA’s Ryan Dunn, Reece Beekman going to go in the 2024 NBA Draft?

Chris Graham
uva basketball beekman dunn
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Ryan Dunn, the defense savant 6’8” forward, appears to be a solid late-first-round pick in next week’s NBA Draft.

UVA teammate Reece Beekman, a 6’3” point guard who tested the draft waters last spring, is a borderline late-second-round pick.

This is the consensus of the draft analysts that I’ve reviewed the past couple of days as we look ahead to the June 26-27 draft.

There’s plenty to like, and plenty to knock, with both.

Analysis: Ryan Dunn

ryan dunn
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Dunn is all upside, which is to say, his defense is already NBA-ready, but his offensive game barely registers.

“His poor jump shooting and wavering confidence as a scorer will be something he’ll have to work to overcome, but he has showcased his strengths on the workout circuit and has left room for optimism around his long-term chances of offensive growth,” ESPN draft analyst Jeremy Woo wrote of Dunn, who averaged an underwhelming 8.1 points per game as a sophomore at UVA in the 2023-2024 season, and an even more underwhelming 5.9 points per game in Virginia’s final 10 games, as the team limped home to a 4-6 finish and an embarrassing 67-42 loss to a mid Colorado State team in the First Four.

Dunn’s biggest issue is his shooting – he was 11-of-49 (22.4 percent) on jump shots, and after back-to-back games in early November in which he was 5-of-6 and 8-of-9 at the free-throw line, Dunn was a god-awful 24-of-54 (44.4 percent) at the charity stripe the rest of the way.

His offensive game is what I came to start calling derivative, coming almost entirely in transition, cuts and offensive rebounds.

On the defensive end, Dunn held opponents to 4.1 points per game on 28.1 percent shooting, both bonkers numbers, in 2023-2024.

His 7’2” wingspan and elite quickness makes him a swiss-army knife who can defend all five positions, which will be valuable in the NBA defending pick-and-rolls.

But without an offensive game, Dunn would seem to project, right now, as a developmental project, likely to spend his rookie season shuttling back-and-forth between the NBA and the G League.

Woo is among several analysts who foresee the New York Knicks taking Dunn with either of their first-round picks – the Knicks have the 24th and 25th picks.

“The Knicks, with a defensive-minded coach in Tom Thibodeau, are likely to value the unique production and tools the No. 34 prospect in ESPN’s Top 100 brings to the table, and might be more interested than most in being patient with Dunn (who is a Long Island native) as he comes along offensively,” Woo wrote.

Analysis: Reece Beekman

uva reece beekman
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

The story with Ryan Dunn is, all upside. The story with Reece Beekman is, he’s already at his ceiling, and it may not be high enough.

The two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year also led UVA in scoring last season (14.3 points per game), and he led the ACC in assists (6.2 per game), and it’s not like he does anything wrong – he’s a fine shooter (44.3 percent), decent from three-point range (31.0 percent).

I watched him for four years, and it seemed to me that his athleticism is plus, but the analysts don’t think so, questioning his ability to consistently get into the lane at the next level.

Beekman is pegged as, at best, a backup player, which is why the draft analysts have him either going late in the second round, or having to go the undrafted free agent route.

I like Beekman’s game, and I can see him being a rotation guy because of his defense and his steadiness.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].