Another in our series of draft profiles. Joseph Casciaro takes a look at Florida’s Bradley Beal.
Bradley Beal – Guard – 6’5, 202 lbs.
Bradley Beal was seen as a potential 2012 top-10 pick as early as 2010, but his stock has really taken off in the last couple of months to the point where some see him as the surefire No. 2 prospect in this class. While he’s considered a bit of a tweener, is seen as slightly undersized for the two-spot, and will only turn 19 years old on Draft night, Beal looks like the type of young scoring guard than can make an immediate impact in the NBA.
The guy has the complete offensive package for a guard. He can handle the ball and play point guard effectively if he has to. He can shoot the lights out and score in bunches. He’s got ice water veins and isn’t afraid to have the ball in his hands with the game on the line. He has a high basketball IQ for a youngster and seems to have a good grasp of when not to shoot.
The one knock on Beal’s offense at this point is that he doesn’t attack the basket enough. I don’t see him as that undersized, and with some added strength (which virtually all young prospects can benefit from), there’s no excuse for Beal not to attack the rim more frequently in the NBA. Having said that, if he can consistently deliver the type of instant offense he is capable of, I don’t think many people will be too worried about how he’s doing it.
Beal also rebounds exceptionally well for a guard his size, as he grabbed nearly seven boards per game as an 18-year-old freshman. In addition, he’s not the type of scorer that takes a breather on defense. The effort is usually there on both ends of the court. At worst, he’s an average defender, though he’s probably better than that.
The other thing to admire about Beal’s one and only season at Florida was his ability to step up in big games with clutch performances. Nowhere was this more evident than in the NCAA tournament, where Beal averaged over 15 points per game (on over 60 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from deep) to go with eight rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals while leading the Gators to the Elite Eight. For his efforts, Beal was named to the West Regional All-Tournament Team.
Once you look past his size, which I’m still not too concerned about, you see a guy who can make an instant impact in the NBA and who can help a team improve in multiple areas. I don’t think Beal is a franchise-changing superstar, but he’s certainly got All-Star potential, and is often compared to Eric Gordon. That’s a fair comparison, but I’d argue Beal is a much more complete player than Gordon was at 19 and he has a higher ceiling.
Don’t be surprised to hear Bradley Beal’s name called at No. 2 or No. 3. If he falls out of the top five, it’s a ridiculous steal for one lucky team.