The Washington Wizards used the No. 3 pick in the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday to take Florida freshman shooting guard Bradley Beal, allowing the Wizards to pair him in the backcourt with point guard John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick two years ago.
Beal was the subject of a lot of trade talk during the day, as Beal steadily moved up the charts as scouts took a closer look at all he brings to the table. There was talk the Bobcats might take Beal at No. 2, but Charlotte opted for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, leaving Beal for Washington.
An excellent outside shooter with amazing range, Beal's 33.9 percent shooting on 3-pointers this past season was not an accurate representation of his shooting prowess. He makes big shots at big moments, and he is always aggressive and competitive.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman made it clear why the team wanted Beal: "His ability to shoot the ball. There's no question about his mechanics and his ability to stroke it."
His presence as a perimeter shooter may spread the defense to give Wall some driving lanes to the basket.
Beal is an outstanding rebounder for his position, averaging 6.7 rebounds a game, and a good defender.
Beal is a smart player who could also play the point if needed, but he may not have a true position - he's not really a point guard and, at 6-5, he's a bit small to be a shooting guard.
Beal was compared to Ray Allen coming out of high school, but had to make adjustments at Florida where he joined entrenched backcourt starters Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton in a three-guard set. players . He played much better at the end of the season and in the postseason, averaging 14.8 points for the season.
In the NCAA Tournament Beal shot 23-of-38 (60 percent), averaging 15.2 points. He was 8-of-19 on 3-pointers, 12-of-13 from the foul line. In his final regular-season game (against Kentucky), he scored 20 on 8-of-15 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.
After finishing 23rd in scoring last season and acquiring two defensive-minded players in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza and trading away Rashard Lewis last week, the Wizards had a need for perimeter scoring.