ROOKIE WATCH 2
Heading into season 2012/13, we decided to shake things up a bit and as you’ve heard already from Nick How, we stumbled across an idea that not a lot of other blogs have. A rookie update! Over the course of this exciting new season, we’ll each select a rookie to follow throughout the year and keep you updated on their movement in the NBA and how their journey is progressing. These will be three ongoing pieces throughout the year, so please feel free to forward us anything interesting you find relating to our respective players and we’ll include it in our reports. Be it a tweet, video, Instragram or an article… if you think it’s relevant, send it through!
I tossed and turned trying to figure out who I would select as my player to follow throughout an entire season as it is quite a commitment, dedicating oneself to their movements for a long period of time. I originally decided to go with Darius Johnson Odom, a point guard out of the University of Marquette, selected by the Lakers via Dallas at pick 55 in the draft. DJO has fascinated me since I saw a segment on ESPN’s Sports Science which focused on his speed in transition offense and his ability to break ankles with lightning quick cross overs. Obviously being a Lakers fan meant watching him would be part and parcel with my love for the purple and gold, so that was another perk of choosing him.
BUT, I thought “Nick, we don’t like to take the ‘easy’ option here at NBA Nation”, and I decided I needed more of a challenge and get to know a player who I likely wouldn’t of spent much time on had I not chosen him. This young, athletic shooting guard was chosen by the Washington Wizards with the 3rd pick in the 2012 Draft from the University of Florida where he averaged 14 points a game on .44% shooting and just under 7 rebounds per game. He’ll play alongside the likes of Nene, John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor and Jordan Crawford for the Wizards in 2012/13 and I can’t wait to see what impact he has in the Nation’s Capital. He also dumped 28 points on me in 2K13 last night, Just because he can. This is Bradley Beal.
At first look, you can tell this kid is built for a career in the NBA. He averaged 18 points a game in high school, and a tad fewer than 15 at the Florida Gators before being drafted by Washington this year, but more impressive is his speed and agility, and his undeniable ability to break free from a defender even in heavy traffic, giving him a multitude of open looks. This is ideal for a Wizards team who desperately needed a scoring machine to place ahead of (or behind) Jordan Crawford who can play a role off the bench, but seemingly isn’t entirely suited to a starting spot.
Beal gives current point guard John Wall the freedom to cut and slash through the defense while he himself can take over the majority of scoring duties. Not only did Washington do the best with what they had at pick 3, they chose the player that they absolutely needed to in Beal. He may need to fill a void at the point for 8 to 10 games while Wall is out with a knee injury, but as he proved in his first preseason game, this will be no issue.
There has been debate over who Washington will start at shooting guard this season, with a line in the sand drawn between Beal and Crawford, but one can assume Beal will fill in at the point for the duration of Wall’s injury while Crawford resumes his position at the 2. A month of big time minutes for Beal will surely work in his favour even if it’s not in his natural habitat. Time will tell if he has the goods to take Crawford’s spot away from him over the coming months.
An area in which Beal excels, and that can also be exploited by Washington, is maturity. He has often been heralded as a ‘leader’ and a ‘player beyond his years’ by those that know and play with him. In a recent interview with the Washington Post following the Draft, Beal expressed his intention to be the mature, dedicated player people see him as.
“I’ve been faced with this situation almost all my life. I’ve always had to grow up faster than what I am, I’m mentally prepared for that, honestly. I’ve always been like that. I’m humble, and guys always say I act older than what I am so I always keep that mentality and make sure everything is focused and serious. It’s a business. So if I have to grow up fast, like everybody wants me to, I’m willing to do that.”
In his first game as a Wizard, Beal was instrumental and although his team fell short to the Charlotte Bobcats 100-88, he was able to notch 18 points on 7 of 17 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He also proved effective from 3-point range hitting 2 of his 4 shots (50%). While this team still needs to find its feet, they have managed to secure themselves a young, exciting and promising rookie who can surely help them in their attempt to have a serious impact on the NBA.
Media Day saw Beal and his team mates don their colours for the first time this year and spend a few hours in front of the cameras talking about their ambitions, and expectations for the team this season. Beal himself seemed optimistic about the Wizards directions and alluded to a playoffs birth saying “If we do what’s best for the team, there’s no reason why we can’t make it to the playoffs”. He also indicated Washington will benefit from their good mix of youth and experience stating “we have a lot of guidance, and a lot of youth with guys who are willing to sacrifice for the team.”
Media Day also saw players upload pictures to their Instagram accounts and Bradley was no different. It was evident from his posts that he is beyond happy with his position at the Wizards and is, in his own words “Blessed”.
Word is he may also be a bit of a gamer. We are yet to figure out his Xbox player I.D. but don’t’ worry, we’ll let you know as soon as we do!
PRESEASON GAME 1: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
While the Wizards succumbed to a 100-88 defeat at the hands of the Bobcats, there is much to take away from Beal’s first game in the tri-colours. Scoring 18 points and contributing in other areas also, this was a great first appearance from the rookie and one that Washington can be very excited about. Here are some highlights from the game:
Following the game, Bradley told the Washington Post that nerves may have been the contributing factor to the loss saying “I guess the anxiety got to us. We were all anxious and excited for this first game. We lost sight of what the team needs to do.”
TWEETS OF THE WEEK: @RealDealBeal23
Name: Bradley Beal
Position: Shooting Guard
Pick: Selected 3rd overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2012 Draft
College: University Of Florida Gators
Twitter/Instagram Handle: @RealDealBeal23
Thanks for reading, and make sure you keep checking back for regular updates on Washington Wizards rookie Bradley Beal. Again, if you want to submit something to be a part of the next update, send it to us and we’ll include it!