Rookie Roundup, Season Preview: Bradley Beal
October 4, 2012 | Isaac Koppel
Before I go any further, this needs to be out in the open: I hate the Florida Gators and any product they put in the pros, except Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. Besides that, it’d be difficult for you to find a Gator that I will support. I will do my best to put my orange and green glasses aside for this article and write about Bradley Beal in the least bias way possible. Okay, let’s begin.
Before the draft, Beal was dubbed “the next Ray Allen”. I’m not sure that I see the comparison. None of Beal’s college numbers were particularly impressive, although that could be attributed to the fact that he wasn’t used all that much, seeing as the Gators had plenty of options. Beal started off his college career slow but as the season progressed he became a significantly better shooter. Most experts point to Beal’s incredible shooting form and consistency as a reason that he will be a good shooter in the pros, and I can’t really argue with them in that regard. Here’s where the Ray Allen comparisons sort of take shape: Over Beal’s last 12 games of the season, he averaged 1.327 points per possession in catch and shoot situations. That ranked 3rd best among the top 21 college guards in this years draft, according to Draftexpress.com.
How will Beal fare this season? Well, in order for any catch and shoot player to thrive, they need to be constantly moving off the ball and have a point guard willing to give it to them in the perfect situation. Ray Allen had one of the top two passing point guards in the league giving him the ball for the last few years in Rajon Rondo, and now has one of the elite passers in the league in Lebron James to find him open. Beal’s point guard is John Wall who isn’t the best at distributing the basketball. John Wall ranked 28th among qualified point guards in assist rate, whereas Rajon Rondo ranked 4th. Obviously nobody is expecting Beal to come in and produce at the same rate Ray Allen has produced at, but you can see that Beal’s point guard will be less willing to give the ball to Beal in a situation where Beal can thrive.
John Hollinger has Beal pegged in more of an Eric Gordon mold than Ray Allen mold, and I think that’s more of what fantasy owners should expect. Beal’s college numbers were relatively pedestrian, so it’s hard to use his college numbers to project his pro numbers. The reason Beal went as high as he did in the draft is because he was beyond impressive in workouts. Beal is an incredible athlete and isn’t afraid to play tough. Because of both of those things, Beal is good at getting to the rim and can finish around the basket. While his strength is clearly his outside shooting, don’t sleep on Beal’s ability to drive.
Long term, Beal projects as somebody who will be a very good shooter while also being solid at creating his own shot. He might never be a superstar but he will always have a place somewhere in the NBA. In Beal’s first season as a pro, I’m expecting double digit points with decent three point numbers. He won’t contribute much in terms of assists. For a rookie guard his rebounding numbers should be good, and he might contribute a bit as far as steals go. With John Wall out the first month of the season, Beal will be counted on to be a large contributor on the offensive side of the ball. His scoring in the first month will most likely be higher than at any point in the rest of the season, because when Wall gets back you know he will try to make up for lost time. Beal went 98th overall in the dynasty league I’m doing, and I think that’s a fair spot for him. He has a high ceiling but it might take a few years until he’s scoring 20+ a game. Beal won’t be the biggest contributor in single year leagues, but if you’re playing in a dynasty, he’s somebody that should make your list.
Please check out my blog at dailydoubledouble.com for more of my writing, and follow me on twitter @IK_DDD