RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Bradley BealPosted by EJacoby on June 25th, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Bradley Beal
Height/Weight: 6’4” / 205 lbs.
NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Projected Draft Range: High Lottery
Overview: Bradley Beal is the 2012 draft’s top guard prospect due to his ability to score from anywhere on the floor as well as his elite athletic tools that can make him an impact player on both ends. He averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game during a solid freshman campaign for Florida, finishing as the top rebounding guard in the SEC. He’s a thick, athletic guard with a beautiful outside stroke which should produce far better than the 33.9% he shot from deep last season. For someone who draws comparison to a young Ray Allen, Beal’s three-point and free throw (76.9%) shooting numbers are not yet on that level, though he displays terrific mechanics and was just 18 years old playing over 34 minutes per game in the SEC. His Combine test results did not stand out from the pack, but remember that he won’t even turn 19 years old until draft night and already displays ideal strength and speed for his position with above-average explosiveness. He has NBA-plus range on the shot, really excels as a mid-range slasher, and already draws fouls at a solid rate. He hasn’t mastered how to score efficiently with all these tools and he doesn’t yet display crafty finishes around the basket, but he’s great in transition and displayed decent playmaking ability for a two-guard. It’s the full package with Beal. Defensively he has solid strength and lateral quickness and appears to show a terrific work ethic to improve. He can block shots and rack up steals with his great anticipation and athleticism – plus he was a fantastic defensive rebounder for a guard. There’s much to like about Beal but he has not yet stood out as a dominant player in workouts or in games, so he’s still going to need proper development to reach his potential.
Will Translate to the NBA: Beal is an ideal athlete for his position, displaying smooth fundamentals on both ends. He has the full package to play significant minutes in the league. Shoots it with confidence and great mechanics despite mixed results last season, so he should improve his percentages at the next level. He’s an impressive rebounder for a guard and also displays decent playmaking, showing he can be shifted to perhaps the one or the three in different NBA lineups. He shows a great basketball IQ, strong work ethic, and advanced maturity that were confirmed with impressive Combine interviews, and these traits suggest a greater chance to reach his potential.
Needs Work: While he’s athletic and silky smooth offensively, Beal didn’t quite measure 6’5” in shoes and isn’t the most explosive guard in the world. He needs work finishing in traffic and must develop some more craftiness in the paint if he’s not going to raise up and dunk it which he only does on occasion. For someone billed as an elite outside shooter, he needs to be much better than 34% on 186 attempts. His upside decreases significantly if he doesn’t become the lethal weapon from the outside as he looked in high school. He also didn’t take over games very often as a freshman and needs to be more assertive while on the floor.
Comparison Players: While he first drew comps to Ray Allen coming into college, everything about Beal is starting to look a lot like Eric Gordon. Gordon is already an elite NBA shooting guard at a young age, whose only limitations thus far have been knee injuries. Beal is not yet as polished and didn’t dominate at the Combine like Gordon did after his freshman season, but he’s shown no signs of being injury prone. His long-range shot looks just as smooth and he has the same kind of fluid athleticism that makes him excel as a slasher and in the mid-range.
Best Case Scenario: There’s not much Brad Beal can’t do on a basketball court, and he displays great maturity at his young age that suggests he should develop without too many issues. He has a high ‘floor’ but also a pretty high ceiling as a player, hence his top five status in a loaded draft. In the best case scenario, Beal shoots it from the outside like he did in high school and becomes lethal offensively given his slashing, playmaking, finishing, and long-range shooting ability. He doesn’t have Kobe- or Wade-like explosiveness, but in a league lacking many star shooting guards after those two, Beal is on a short list of prospects who can reach that All-Star level.
Best NBA Fit: Beal could pretty much fit anywhere in the top half of the lottery. He’s probably going to end up going #2, #3, or #4, since all three of those teams have a need at shooting guard. The Charlotte Bobcats need everything but were especially inept offensively last year, and they have no go-to scorer. The Washington Wizards at #3 and Cleveland Cavaliers at #4 have gaping holes at two-guard next to their franchise point guards. If Beal lands on either of those teams, look out for one of the league’s top young backcourts for years to come.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Beal is getting top 5 hype, which might be a little optimistic. He struggled shooting in the early part of the year and finished at just 34% from three. Regardless, he’s such a smooth, natural shooter that teams are considering him as high as #4 despite him being undersized.”
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Evan Jacoby. He can be found on Twitter @evanJacoby.