NEWARK, Nj. (WUSA) -- On Wednesday it looked as if Florida's Bradley Beal wouldn't fall into the Wizards lap, like Washington
had so desperately hoped for. The franchise revealed to the entire NBA that their only glaring need was at shooting guard, following the trade for veteran forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
Luckily for Ernie Grunfeld -- and for Wizards fans -- those highly speculative Twitter rumors were laid to rest on
Thursday, when David Stern called Beal's name with the third overall
"It's a blessing and an honor to be drafted -- and to be drafted by
the Wizards is terrific," said a beaming Beal Thursday night at the
Prudential Center. "They have a great front office and a great team on
the uprising. Looking forward to making an impact and going to D.C."
The Wizards shooting woes were well documented this season, putting a
massive amount of pressure on John Wall to perform at a much higher
level than he was capable of achieving. Beal's arrival at the Verizon Center
couldn't come at a better time for the Wizards point guard.
"I know John a little bit personally. He knows the kind of player I
am. I know the player he is. He plays fast and that's the way I like to
play. Hopefully I can knock down some shots for him," said the
well-spoken Beal .
What's really interesting -- and something Washington head coach
Randy Wittman must explore -- is Beal's desire to play some point guard.
That particular position was crowded at the University of Florida, but
it sounds like bringing up the ball is something the newest Wizard expects the team to experiment with.
"I guess we will switch off every now and then. I think that's
to be a good thing for us. And probably a bad thing for the other team,
hopefully," joked Beal to local reporters who made the trip to New
Jersey. "We can create mismatches as well, both being able to handle
As you'll quickly learn, Beal is very diplomatic with his answers. He doesn't expect to start right away, and he will play whatever role is crafted out for him.
"I'm not going to force the issue. Whatever the team needs me to do,
whatever the coaches need me to do, that's what I'm going to do."
Beal's critics often chirped about his so-so season at Florida. The
touted long distance shooter shot less than 34 percent from the
three-point line and severely underperformed in big games against Syracuse, Arizona and Kentucky. Beal was unsure he would even declare for the draft because of these very woes.
"Sometimes it's not your fault. You don't have control over where the
ball goes in the hoop. If we did, I don't think anybody would miss. I just staying focused and having fun. And doing the other things to
impact the game," said Beal.
What the Wizards get in Bradley Beal is everything
they've lacked: A guard with a smart shot selection; a perimeter
defender with bulk who can crash the boards; a crunch-time shooter not
named Jordan Crawford.
And his personality is one to rave about. Each answer wasn't robotic. He never seemed nervous either.
The best part? With Beal in the fold, the playoffs are not entirely out of the question as we head into next season.