NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28: Bradley Beal (R) of the Florida Gators greets NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) after he was selected number three overall by the Washington Wizards during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
A week ago, Washington Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld explained his rationale for the Emeka Okafor/Trevor Ariza trade by suggesting that it might take some pressure off whoever the team selected with the No. 3 overall pick.
I don't think that we're depending on a rookie to come in and play 40 minutes a night for us either. That's why you have some more veteran players that come in and the rookies can learn from.
Well, here we are, a week later, and the pick is Florida's Bradley Beal. So, I ask of everyone: what are your realistic expectations for Beal's rookie year?
Me? I'm not putting a points number on it, but I expect him to become one of the team's most important players right away. I expect him to beat out Jordan Crawford for the starting shooting guard spot and immediately move into the team's starting lineup. (The one upside to the Beal/Crawford situation: you know Crawford is not going to give up his starting spot without a fight, so Beal will definitely have to earn it. The downside could be what happens afterwards, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it).
Beyond that, I expect Beal to hit the ground running. He doesn't have to be the team's leading scorer or even the third offensive option right off the bat, but I would be disappointed if he got off to the same kind of slow start trying to find himself as he did with Florida. He said last night that he learned the importance of doing other things to help a team win after his early struggles, but it took him a while. It can't take him as long here. Even if he's not a top scorer, I expect him to emerge as one of the team's four- or five-most important players by the end of the season.
- I expect Beal to make the all-rookie first team. He won't win Rookie of the Year, but I expect him to show flashes of being a legitimate player early on.
- I expect Beal to improve as the season goes along.
- I expect Beal to shoot at least 37 percent from three-point range, and really, he should shoot even better than that.
- I expect Beal to immediately attack closeouts well, because he's going to get a ton of spot-up opportunities.
- I expect Beal to hit more than 38 percent of his transition three-pointers.
What do you expect from Beal next season?