The Real Deal

After weeks of rumors and speculation about where he may end up, on Thursday June 28th, the Wizards made Bradley Beal the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

They drafted a 6-5 guard from Florida who can flat out shoot the ball. A guy who has drawn comparisons to great shooters like Ray Allen, which is more due to the smoothness in his game than anything else.

One can watch all the highlights, read all of the projections, analyze his stats, and study the player Bradley Beal to see what the Wizards are getting on the court. But, on Thursday night after Beal was selected, had the chance to shadow the former Gator throughout his media circuit and got to see what kind of person the Wizards are adding.

In hindsight, his birth certificate should have been requested, because the fact that this young man turned 19 years old on draft night had to be a mistake. The level of professionalism, maturity, and authenticity from Beal was mind-blowing as he made his way through the circuit.

Granted, this was a night he had been dreaming of for most of his life, the hours of interviews, pictures, and phone calls can get tiring, but not once did Beal ever seem disinterested in the process and handled himself with class throughout.

This is a player with both a great personality and someone who wants to work hard. He’s funny, intelligent, polite, and a young man who has a lot of confidence in his ability. This combination should make fitting into the Wizards system a whole lot easier.

This was nothing new, because after meeting with Beal during his workout for the Wizards, Head Coach Randy Wittman had similar feelings.

“He has a willingness to defend and rebound, and those are things that go into being a quality player. And then on top of it is the person. That’s really the thing that sold me. Not only can he play, but he’s a good quality person character-wise.”

Bradley Beal the person is someone Wizards fans are going to fall in love with in a short period of time and he has already talked about giving back to the D.C. community.

“I’m big on that, and that’s one of the first things I want to do outside of basketball is get back to the community. Whether it’s visiting kids in the hospital or teaching them basketball, I love to do little things like that because they support you, and it’s always great to support them as well. I hope to get started right away,” said Beal.

Beal greets fans at the draft

With a slew of talented players to choose from, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld was very excited to have Beal still available when the Wizards picked at #3.

“We had some really good choices there, but we were hoping he would fall to three. He’s a very good young player. He is an outstanding shooter, very good perimeter player and a good defender. He has outstanding character, and today is his 19th birthday. He has a lot of things to learn in front of him, but we are really pleased to be able to get a player with his abilities and his character.”

On the surface, Beal and the Wizards seems like a match made in heaven, but we’re only a few days in to Beal’s career as a member of this organization and he knows he has a lot to prove on the court.

He knows he’s 19 and probably won’t lead the league in scoring his rookie year, but will enter the 2012-13 season with an open mind and ready to play any role the Wizards will provide him.

“Whatever Coach wants me to do and whatever role he puts me in, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win and to help the team. I’m not coming in to force the issue, I’m going to come in and try and feel things out, get to know the vets and get them to push me to start learning the game,” said Beal.

Playing in the same backcourt as John Wall was something he repeatedly echoed on Thursday night and said that Wall’s fast-paced game was the kind he liked to play.

Grunfeld also did not rule out the possibility of the Wizards using a 3-guard lineup to speed up play and teaming Beal up with both Wall and Jordan Crawford.

“We had a player who started with us last year in Jordan (Crawford), but eventually we could have a three-guard rotation with Jordan (Crawford), John (Wall) and him (Bradley Beal).”

Whatever lineup Beal finds himself in next season, expect the rookie to seize every opportunity that he receives.

Bradley Beal, great player, great talent, great potential. Even better person.

Beal is expected to join the Wizards Summer League Team in Las Vegas from July 13-19.