The Washington Wizards had fairly high hopes for this season. Last season was a disaster and their front-office knew it, jettisoning a slew of their troubled players mid-season. All of this was done in hopes of saving their potential superstar John Wall from learning to become a loser. Then in June’s NBA Draft the Wizards selected Bradley Beal with the third overall selection. Beal was thought to be the best shooter in the draft. A perfect compliment to Wall. Experts thought Washington was headed in the right direction.
Leading up to the draft all the scuttlebutt was about how prolific a shooter Beal was and would be going forward in his career. He’s currently shooting .333 percent from the floor and an underwhelming .359 from distance. So somehow the NBA experts are finding this statistic shocking. In reality, if anyone had done their homework, Beal’s unrealistic expectations would have been realized as unrealistic before he was drafted so high.
Coming out of high school and heading to the Florida Gators program the word on Beal was “elite shooter”. Supposedly deadly accurate all over the court in high school, many folks projected the same when he joined Billy Donovan’s squad. However, when Beal’s collegiate career got going it was his “potential” as a shooter and not the statistics that had everyone talking lottery pick. Beal played and started in 37 games for the Gators, shooting .445 percent from the floor and .339 from beyond the arc.
So how are those numbers supposed to translate into a great NBA shooter exactly? The argument was made that other college teams across the land were focusing their defense on Beal, forcing him in a position to force up bad shots. So one can only guess that meant the defenses in the NBA were going to be easier for Beal to deal with.
Playing for the Wizards can’t make it any easier for the rookie either. Washington hasn’t amassed a single win this year. Through nine games this season the only thing the Wizards have accomplished is furthering the notion of their own incompetence. If Beal doesn’t get his act together the media won’t give him a chance to prove himself but will be relegated to another example of Washington’s ineptitude.
It’s pretty simple really. Washington didn’t do their own scouting(I mean, I hope they didn’t). If you took an actual scouting report of Beal done without expectation it would have read like this: An undersized shooting guard whose best attribute is supposed to be accurate shooting. His collegiate numbers don’t back up this “accurate” shooting claim. As far was I know his accurate shooting days were in high school. The player also has a hard time finding his own shot and shows a lack of effort on defense. If he can’t shoot accurately against lesser competition in college I don’t see how it translates to success in the NBA.
Somehow, it read the complete opposite. How was that possible nobody noticed Beal wasn’t shooting well in college? Forget the scouting report above, the fact that nobody was willing to concede that he might not have been as good a shooter as experts thought is troubling. I got laughed at myself for my scouting report. Everyone ate the Beal hype up despite no evidence.
Unfortunately for Washington it seemed like they trusted all the picture-box experts rather than doing their own homework. But hey, I guess when everyone in the world tells you that he’s the best “pure shooter” in the draft why bother doing your own scouting on the player. Not like a player has ever been a bust with the number 3 overall selection in the NBA Draft, right?
Sadly for Wizards fans, there is an alternate theory. Washington did its own scouting on Beal. I don’t know what’s worse; getting tricked into drafting a player because everyone else tells you how great he is or just being horrible at your job.
At the end of the day this season is young and Beal has plenty of time to turn his awful start around. I just don’t see it happening. A prolific shooter who hasn’t been one since he was living with mom and dad doesn’t generally equal NBA greatness.
Joe covers the Big East for Rant Sports and will dabble with the NBA time to time. Follow him on the Twitter machine @JosephNardone