Franchise Gets Highly-Coveted Shooting Guard
After all of the rumored deals, uncertainty and speculation, the Washington Wizards selected guard Bradley Beal with the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Wizards had targeted the freshman Beal, who averaged 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in his one season at Florida, and they were ecstatic to draft him on his 19th birthday. Two weeks ago, Beal worked out for the Wizards at Verizon Center. Once the workout was completed, Beal knew that he wanted to be chosen by the Wizards.
"To be honest, in the back of my head I had the feeling after working out with them, that's where I wanted to be," Beal said. "At the end of the day, no matter where I would've landed, I would've been happy. But I'm grateful I'm in D.C."
The Wizards ranked 28th in three-point shooting percentage and 23rd in scoring, and were in desperate need of a talented player on the wing. Now that they've added the 6-foot-3 Beal, they have possibly found a backcourt mate to develop with John Wall.
"I think he's a great pick," said Wall. "The organization, the owner and GM did a great job. I'm glad we had the opportunity to pick him. He's somebody that can make shots, help spread the court for you. You can't say what to expect from him right away, but I think he'll come in and help us out a lot."
In the second half of last season, Jordan Crawford started at shooting guard, but Beal said he expected all three players to form a dangerous back court. "I think it'll be terrific. J-Wall and Crawford are both great players. He can create for himself and Crawford can put the ball in the rim," said Beal, adding that he doesn't feel any urgency to deliver immediately.
Since high school, Beal has worn No. 23, but Michael Jordan wore the same number for Washington. He has decided to find a different identity as a Wizard. "I'm not going to wear it," Beal said, when asked if he'd like to wear No. 23 in Washington.
Beal's 19th birthday was much different than a year ago, when he spent his 18th birthday at Florida's summer school orientation. "It wasn't too good, but this one tops off anything else," Beal said. "The best birthday I've ever had, by far. I'm just enjoying it."