Wizards Land Their Man, Select Bradley Beal In NBA Draft
Courtesy of Kyle Terada / US Presswire
Leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, you would’ve been hard-pressed to find an insider or mock draft that had the Washington Wizards selecting anyone other than Florida freshman Bradley Beal. In fact, one insider even hinted that the Wizards would’ve selected Beal with the No. 2-overall pick if they had it. Beal was simply their guy.
Given what the Wizards are doing in terms of changing the culture under new coach Randy Wittman and looking to add potential scoring threats, the 6’4 shooting guard was Washington’s best option at No. 3. Not only is he a good basketball player, Beal is a strong character guy as well.
Beal averaged just shy of 35 minutes per game as a freshman last season. In 37 starts, Beal averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. And while he shot just 34 percent from beyond the arc for the season, it was easy to see Beal coming into his own towards the end of the season.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times leading up to the draft, it’s Beal’s score-first attitude and incredible range that made him such an attractive prospect for the Wizards. And according to numerous other reports, it wasn’t just the Wizards that were infatuated with Beal. One rumor — via Twitter — mentioned the Bobcats declining trade offers for their No. 2-overall pick. At least one or two of those offers were an effort to select Beal.
After the Wizards miraculously shipped off Rashard Lewis and his pathetic contract in exchange for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, the team’s top priority turned to acquiring scorers. Beal’s shooting (both mechanics and range) have been compared to Ray Allen and he’s a very talented rebounder for the position. For the Wizards, it’s a perfect fit.
Although Jordan Crawford remains the Wizards’ best shooting threat, he’s also the team’s streakiest shooter. Quite frankly, Jordan Crawford isn’t a starter in the NBA. What Crawford can contribute as a flash scorer off the bench is valuable. What he lacks in defensive ability, basketball IQ and overall speed is not.
With John Wall running the show and setting the pace as a pass-first point guard, Beal’s spot-up game should flourish. In addition to his shooting, I find Beal to be an effective slasher that is strong enough to sacrifice his body for the sake of the bucket. And because Wall is responsible for a vast majority of the offense’s flow, Beal shouldn’t be asked to handle the ball all that much — an aspect of his game that he’s still working to improve.
All that said, I sincerely hope that Bradley Beal is starting at the beginning of the season.
In between now and then, if the Wizards acquire an experienced two-guard, then bringing the rookie off the bench is understandable. Otherwise, Beal is immediately this team’s best shooting guard.
Ideally, as a fan, my 2012-2013 Wizards All-Star, championship-caliber, shit-on-your-team-lineup looks something like this:
PG - John Wall – His pivotal third season.
SG - Bradley Beal – Yes. Better than Jordan Crawford.
SF - Trevor Ariza - Runs, can finish around the basket and (get this) he plays defense.
PF - Nene – Very good in the frontcourt when healthy.
C - Emeka Okafor – Veteran presence averages a double-double over his career.