They used to call it one of the best draft classes of the last 25 years. Now, it’s looking more and more like Anthony Davis… and then everybody else. Still, on June 28, the 2012 NBA Draft will bring hope, and hopefully new talent to some teams that desperately need it.
As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with Mock Drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on the future of UNC’s Harrison Barnes. Today, we’re looking at Bradley Beal from Florida.
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Best case: Eric Gordon
Worst case: J.R. Smith (less athletic)
Final comparison: Marcus Thornton
Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being overseas talent and 10 being NBA Rookie Of The Year)
Bradley Beal has decent athleticism for his size. He moves with great mobility both with and without the basketball. He has good end-to-end speed, and moves well laterally. He has the necessary speed and quickness, but he doesn’t necessarily jump out the gym. His jumping ability is the only thing holding him back from having the complete package athletically. He doesn’t have that same bounce that Eric Gordon has, but shares similarities in just about every other aspect.
There’s no question that Beal’s name will be on the draft board within the top 10 picks. His skill set is the main reason for that. He’s a bit undersized for the shooting guard position, but his skill set makes up for it. He’s a much better shooter than it shows on paper. He only shot 33 percent from the arc in his one season at Florida, but you have to believe that had he stayed for another season that percentage would have improved. He made a reputation for himself as a shooter in high school and that carried on to Florida, and that reputation as a shooter is what makes his game so effective offensively. Defenders hate giving him space, which along with his quickness allows him to get to the basket effectively. He has NBA range, and a quick trigger to go along with it. He’s a gunner and always looks to score, which can be both good and bad… good because you’ll never have to ask him to be more aggressive offensively; bad because he rarely looks to create for teammates. Ballhandling comes natural to him, but he does tend to dribble too much sometimes. Overall, Beal’s skill set is his strongest asset. If he improves his athleticism, and gains some consistency on his jump shot, he’ll be a star.
[RELATED: Dime Mock Draft 2.0]
The main way to judge if a player is NBA ready is to pose the question “can he guard his position?” Defensively, Beal can definitely hold his own against most starting shooting guards in the league now. Although he’s undersized for his position, he does a great job staying in-front of his opponent. He’s early on his help rotations, and gets plenty of deflections. He averaged 1.4 steals a game, on top of 6.7 rebounds, which is much better than you would expect from a player his size. Offensively, he’s ready to contribute a large chunk of the scoring load. He’s an NBA shooter, but needs to improve on finishing at the rim. His jumping ability is limited, and his layups often get blocked. Finishing at the rim is really the only aspect of his offensive game that needs significant improvement. Overall, as a shooting guard his job is to score, and that’s exactly what he’ll be doing at the next level.
Although Beal usually looks to score first, he’s still a smart player. He makes the right play eight times out of 10. This is a crucial aspect to his game because it can really determine what type of player he’ll become. If he loses his smarts, and becomes a one-dimensional player, he’ll end up playing a J.R. Smith role. If he maintains his discipline, and continues to be a smart player, he’ll end up playing more of an Eric Gordon, Marcus Thornton type of role. He’s got the potential offensively to carry that type of weight, but he’s going to have to maintain his discipline to really reach that level of success. Out of all the prospects in the draft, Beal has the potential to end up as the best pure scorer.