After spending only three minutes and ten seconds on the clock, the Washington Wizards selected University of Florida freshman shooting guard Bradley Beal with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Although the Cavaliers had their eyes on moving up from the No. 4 spot to get Beal, the Bobcats did not agree to an offer from Cleveland to exchange their No. 2 and 31 selections for the No. 4, 24, and 33 picks.
The Bobcats instead took freshman small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from the University of Kentucky following the New Orleans Hornets’ No. 1 overall selection of freshman power forward Anthony Davis—Kidd-Gilchrist’s former Kentucky teammate and the 2012 National Player of the Year.
This left, arguably, the draft’s second best player behind Davis on the board for Washington, who made a no-brainer decision with their pick of the 2011-12 SEC All-Freshman Team and First-Team All-SEC selection.
After trading 6-foot-7 shooting guard Nick Young to the Clippers in a March deal to get Nene, the Wizards will now add a player in Beal who has drawn comparisons to a young Ray Allen due to his strong outside shooting ability.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard is also expected to contribute a sense of toughness to the perimeter for the Wizards. In only one season at Florida, Beal was not only second on the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game but also established himself as a good defender while leading all guards in the SEC with 6.7 rebounds per game.
With the addition of Beal in the draft as well as that of small forward Trevor Ariza and center Emeka Okafor following a trade with New Orleans on June 20 for small forward Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 pick in the draft, one may question what type of offense Wizards head coach Randy Wittman will have his guys run this upcoming season.
One possibility is a three-guard offense with Beal, shooting guard Jordan Crawford, and the Wizards’ No. 1 overall pick in 2010 John Wall featured in the backcourt alongside big men Okafor and Nene down low.
A more typical two-guard offense would still include Okafor and Nene in the front court. However, it would call for a swingman such as Ariza to rotate between the duties of a guard and a forward in addition to Wall who is the definite staple of Washington’s offense.
If this is what the Wizards go with, it would elicit a competition between Beal and Crawford for the job of starting shooting guard.
Crawford, who the Washington acquired from the Atlanta Hawks in a trade at the end of the 2010-11 season, will definitely be a tough competitor to Beal given that he was second on the Wizards in scoring last season with 14.2 points per game.
Regardless of whether he starts or comes off of the bench this season, Beal’s talent will undoubtedly complement that of the face of the franchise in Wall as Washington continues to take steps forward as an organization.
Shortly after hearing his name called and walking across the stage to shake Commissioner David Stern’s hand, Beal expressed his excitement of being selected third overall by the Washington Wizards on his 19th birthday by tweeting “Washington Wizards !!!!!!”—a tweet that Wall retweeted, adding the simple words of acceptance “Yessir bro.”