No Other Deal, The Wizards' Only Choice Is Bradley Beal
If things go how they should go, the Washington Wizards worked out their future 2012 third overall draft pick on Thursday: Bradley Beal out of the University of Florida. Sure, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson would be fine additions — either/or likely being the target of the Charlotte Bobcats with the No. 2 selection. But Beal fits the greatest need the Wizards have: long distance shooting combined with attack-the-basket scoring.
And if the Wizards value the presence of John Wall, they’ll select Beal over any player not named Anthony Davis. The Wizards have some guys with the skills of Robinson — rebounding, post scoring, hustle, and mean screen setting (see Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, or Jan Vesely). And while Kidd-Gilchrist is obviously a top five talent, he can’t shoot. Not acceptable at pick No. 3 (unless Beal goes second, then it’s MKG over Robinson).
For the love of God Shammgod!! The Wizards need shooters more than this town needs an enema. (Although, the recent spike in corruption amongst D.C. City Council members does exasperate the latter option.)
Other than Mike Miller’s .480 from the 3-point arc in 2009-10, the last Wizards players to shoot above .410 in a season (while attempting at least 100 threes) were Hubert Davis, Tyronn Lue and Chris Whitney, all in 2001-02.
Other than Mike Miller, team president Ernie Grunfeld’s best 3-point shooters in the last five years have been Nick Young, Roger Mason, Kirk Hinrich, DeShawn Stevenson and Mike James. So yea, Brad Beal it is.
Certainly more impressive than the brief media access to Beal’s workout (which also included Georgetown’s Hollis Thompson and Grambling State’s Quincy Roberts), was Beal’s interview demeanor. You get the impression that he’s more advanced than the typical 19-year old. (Hell, more advanced than some 24, 25 and 26-year olds that the Wizards had on their roster last year.) Of course, this was just one glimpse from one person, you can take a look for yourself… Beal’s post-Wizards workout interview video is below.
Totally. I’m sure a lot of us would put on our headphones and hope that Jesse Jackson — sitting beside us on a flight to D.C. — falls asleep before he talks our ear off.
Beal measures up. At the combine he tested a max vertical reach of 11-feet, 7-inches. So he’s going to be dunking on people. You know who else tested an 11-foot-7 max vertical reach? Carmelo Anthony, Jared Jeffries and Taj Gibson. Just some names — and heights — to consider.
“Beal measured 6-5 in shoes with a 6-8 wingspan. That’s not elite size for a 2, but it’s bigger than teams gave him credit for,” writes ESPN.com’s Chad Ford. Looking at this beyond the traditional sense, John Wall is a supreme athlete who can guard either the 1 or 2 positions. A guy Beal’s size next to him will be just fine. Do you know how we know this? Because Beal is an unquestionable rebounder. And as we’ve come to know, a statistical ability to rebound can be one of the most reliable indicators of college to pro success (and one of the main reasons why people are jumping on the T-Rob Train). Beal’s 6.7 rebounds per game ranked 12th most in the Southeastern Conference, and his 199 total defensive rebounds ranked 45th most nationally.*
Beal is also going to be physical, something he says he learned from his experience playing internationally for the USA U-16 and U-17 national teams. Beal is already a two-time gold medalist, you know, and he was named MVP of the 2010 FIBA U-17 World Championship. He jibes with the franchise rebuilding plan of toughness, as do Robinson and Kidd-Gilchrist, but the point is that Beal also fits the mold.
But then there’s the shooting. Yes, the jump shooting. Below you will find footage of Brad Beal shooting the basketball during his workout with the Wizards, including the famed “7 Drill” (where you start the count at seven; made baskets subtract one, misses add one; it ends at zero). This drill was previously seen in Wizards pre-draft workouts from the likes of Devin Ebanks, Magnum Rolle, Solomon Alabi, Jeremy Tyler, and Samardo Samuels, with an explanation once from Flip Saunders, who called the drill, “as much of a mental test as anything else.”
Now, Beal did have a few struggles with the “7 Drill,” and Georgetown’s Hollis Thompson started late and finished earlier, but Beal’s shooting form was appropriate and consistent. Again, just the very end of a single NBA workout against no defense, which is why I’ll also trust what some of the experts have written already. Watch…
Beal said his strong play down the stretch for the University of Florida — as the Gators made it to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8, but lost to Louisville — made his decision to turn pro.
“During the year, I knew for a fact I wasn’t coming out. I was like, ‘Man, I’m not even ready, so….’ But then towards the end of the year, I really stepped up a lot and started playing the way I knew how,” Beal said. But why the change from a slow freshman year start?
“Basically just having fun,” said Beal. But he didn’t leave it at that simple answer. He said he was too worried about his shot at first, and that he wasn’t doing other things to impact the game. Beal, with some prodding from his coach, Billy Donovan, soon realized that those other things should come first. Then the shots fall. Then you start having fun.
Back to reality, consider the Wizards. They’re a team just as apt to ruin all the fun, especially for the kids. Beal must prepare himself for the harsh realities of pro basketball in the nation’s capital. Or are the Wizards teetering on change?
F Street (the street formerly known as “Fun”) running alongside the Verizon Center hasn’t had much traffic during NBA seasons as of late. Beal, more than Kidd-Gilchrist, more than Robinson (and perhaps more than Anthony Davis, even), gets the Wiz Kids closer to partying again, because he is a scorer. (No, Andray Blatche, not that kind of partying.)
Even at the ripe age of 19, Beal could inject some fun back into the Wizards. Now, they just need to throw others off the scent, which is why they workout all the options — if Washington didn’t work out Thomas Robinson they’d be showing at least one card in their hand. Beal said he will work out with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday and with the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. Otherwise, on June 28 draft night — also Beal’s birthday — the Wizards better hope with the third pick, he’s the one.
* via StatSheet.com
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