For a Washington Wizards team that ranked 27th in the NBA in three-point shooting over the past two years, Bradley Beal will be a very welcome edition. The Wizards must have cast some spell on me (expelliarmus!) because I look at that starting-five and I think, “Wow, Washington actually isn’t so bad!” Well, don’t get me wrong, they are still pretty bad. But the additions of Trevor Ariza, and Nene makes me think they might actually possibly maybe probably not though, be a fairly exciting team to watch this year. And Bradley Beal is a big part of why I got my eye on the Wiz. The 19 year old sharpshooter will join a Wizards roster that is desperate for a pure shooter like Beal, and if Bradley’s 63 3-pointers made with the Florida Gators last year (33.9%) is any indication, he should be just what this D.C. squad needs. Yeah so, those percentages are nothing to write home about, but trust me, the doode can shoot. Like, he lives in three point land, originally from Downtown district. B-Rad took 186 threes last year in 37 games (just over 5 per game) if that doesn’t get you excited you need your oil changed, because you sir, are a robot, not a fantasy basketball manager. Either way, Bradley Beal will likely be expected to step up and hit jump shots from the wings and be a primary catch-and-shoot recipient for Wiz All-Star point guard John Wall. Sure he can score, but wait, folks, that’s not all! At just 6’3, Bradley is also quite good on the boards (6.7 RPG at Florida) and is known for his exceptional perimeter defense.
Beal’s line with the Gators last season, 44.5 FG/76.9 FT/14.8 ppg/6.7 rbd/2.2 ast/1.4 stl/0.8 blk/2.1 tov, is very good but is he worth your hard earned draft choices come fantasy basketball draft day? What those stats don’t tell you is how insane Beal was during Florida’s run in the tournament. Through the March Madness, Beal averaged 15.8 points, and hit 42% of his three’s to lead the Gators to the Elite Eight. Oh, hello there. What did you say your name was again? How about you come play for my fantasy basketball team in November? Damian Lillard will be there. He’s cool. Oh well, if you didn’t know his name before, you knew after those first few tourney games, as Bradley Beal went from a top 20 prospect, to arguably one best available players in the draft. Beal’s season and Final Four hopes unfortunately ended with a 20 point, 8 rebound, 5 assist performance versus Kentucky which is likely what vaulted him to the 3rd overall pick in the draft. The Wizards lucked out this time, and although Beal probably won’t be playing in many meaningful games with Washington, it’s that intensity, passion and drive that he showed during the tournament that the Wizards could so desperately use. Bradley has drawn comparisons to players such Ray Allen and Eddie Jones, and although he may be closer to the latter to start his career, it’s important to note that Bradley is only 19 years old! Awww, he’s just a wittle babeee! In other words, Beal has plenty of time to grow into a NBA All Star, but I might temper my expectations for 2012. Gators coach Billy Donovan claims Beal has an incredible maturity and emotional toughness for a player his age, he’s a hard worker and should have great success in the NBA. Wow, thanks Coach! Yareallymeanit? Yeah, B-Rad’s the real deal.
What does this mean for your fantasy team? Well, unlike some other rookies I am slightly higher on, namely Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal will likely be a third or fourth option on the Washington Wizards. He’s projected in the 10th-13th rounds on most experts’ boards, but I think Beals could be a popular choice on draft day and with the SG position as shallow as it is, I have seen him go as early as the 7th and 8th round in mock drafts. Yikes. Whoa now, I love me some Bradley Beals as much as the next guy, and I think he’s probably one of the less risky rookies you can draft this year, but I’m having a hard time putting him in my top 100 to start the year. Perhaps, just outside the top 100. If you like Beals, I would take a chance drafting him if I can get him in or after the 10th round, otherwise I’ll wait until next year. Without being the 1st or second option in D.C., I just don’t see Beals’ ceiling for 2012-13 being as high as some of the other players available in those rounds. That notwithstanding, I think Bradley Beals will have a great NBA career and hopefully he can start to finally bring the Wizards out of the basement (probably not though, I mean, they are Wizards).
Projections: .395 fg/.792 ft/12.1 ppg/1.9 3pt/3.6 rbd/2.1 ast/1.2 stl/0.1 blk/1.5 tov