WASHINGTON - Since Bradley Beal entered the NBA Draft, he's been pulled back and forth between two player comparisons on opposite sides of the shooting guard spectrum.
The player he gets compared to most is Ray Allen, for obvious reasons. Both players have picture-perfect shooting forms and have a smooth handle they can put to use when teams try to drive them off the 3-point line. It's a simple, but very sensical connection to make.
But from time to time, you'll still hear Beal get compared to another shooting guard. The most notable instance came from Martell Webster who said this atter Beal's second preseason game in 2012, according to Michael Lee:
"He says he wants to compare himself to Ray Allen, but he has a little more flash than Ray Allen,. I'd say he has a little of The Flash - [Dwyane] Wade - in him."
It's hard to reconcile the Allen and Wade comparisons because they've put together their Hall of Fame credentials with completely different playing styles at the same position. Having a player who can shoot like Ray Allen and attack like Dwyane Wade sounds like a perfect combination, but sometimes the mystique gets lost in the application. If you could do both things, how would you find the right balance to maximize your effectiveness? It's not as easy as it sounds.
Throughout most of his career, Beal has veered toward the Ray Allen side of the spectrum, which makes sense considering his shot is his best asset and playing more like D-Wade would put him at an even greater risk for injury, which Beal really doesn't need after missing 54 games his first three seasons.
But still, from time to time you'll see Beal channel his inner Dwyane Wade and it's a sight to behold. The latest example came Friday night against the Knicks:
The dunk, of course, is very impressive, but the thought process Beal used as he attacked the rim in transition is the most exciting part of how Beal made things happen. There were a couple of points in this attack where Beal could have slowed things down.
First, after he collects the rebound and starts to push the ball in transition, Carmelo Anthony tries to cut off Beal's driving lane:
But once Beal zooms by Carmelo, he's still got a backpedaling Kristaps Porzingis (who had two blocks on the night) in his path. No one would have blamed him for slowing things down and setting up the offense here.
But this is where Beal flipped the switch to Dwyane Wade, makes a deft move to create separation while moving forward and then goes straight for the rim. By the time Porzingis adjusts, Beal is already in the air and all the rookie can do is prepare for the ball to hit him after it goes through the net:
We may not always get to see this side of Bradley Beal, which is probably for the best, but if he can continue to find to integrate it into his game this season, without taking away from the other parts of his game, both he and the Wizards will be better for it this season.