On Saturday, David Statman of Wiz of Awes wrote a column titled "The Washington Wizards Should Not Re-sign Bradley Beal". It is an interesting read that I encourage you all to check out.
While I was reading it, there are quite a few things that I disagreed on. So I decided to make this post as a response to Statman's column.
Below is the first quote that I disagree with.
Basketball Reference has this cool thing called similarity scores, using a player’s win shares and his career arc to match him with other players throughout history with the most similar quality and shape.
You’d might think that a player of Beal’s youth and talent would have some fine players on his list, right?
Not a single player in Beal’s top 10 through four years ever made an All-Star Game – John Williamson and Jalen Rose both had multiple seasons averaging 20+ points per game, but only ever as high-usage players on mediocre-to-awful teams.
Let me preface this by saying I love Basketball Reference. It's a great resource for anything basketball related, but even with that said there are things that simply are not explained by statistics.
Context is important here. Bradley Beal is a 22-year-old player playing in a different era than many of the players on this list. The player on that list that had the greatest similarity, John Williamson (whom Statman omitted in his argument), averaged 14.5 as a 22-year-old rookie in the ABA. Bradley Beal just averaged a career-high 17.4 ppg at the same age.
In addition to obviously starting his career in far greater circumstances, Williamson was also a 23 percent 3 point shooter.Is that a realistic projection of Beal's career?
If anything we have seen that Beal has proven to be a good 3 point shooter but a poor mid-range shooter. And given that the new style of NBA player, where the 3 point shot is as important as ever, doesn't that skill set lead credence to the fact that he could actually thrive?
That’s unnerving in and of itself. Then you factor in Beal’s spotty health. To be fair,John Wall had some recurring injury problems his first few years, but they were largely sorted by his fourth year and health hasn’t been an issue since.
By contract, Beal keeps getting the same injury every single year (because apparently learning how to run without messing his legs up is too much to ask), and it’s taking a bigger and bigger toll. At just 22-years-old, Beal played the fewest games of his NBA career this past season, just 55.
A legitimate argument that is extremely tricky to figure out. This is probably the most difficult part of the argument of whether to re-sign him or not. The question becomes is Beal injury prone or has the medical staff just not figured out a solution to a fixable issue?
The biggest argument to support the notion that these series of injuries could quickly change would go to no other than Stephen Curry. In his third year at the age of 23, Curry only played 26 games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season that only had 66 games.
In other words, Curry played in a smaller percentage of games in that season (39 percent) versus Beal this past season (67 percent). Curry eventually through a lot of hard work and training was able to overcome his chronic ankle issues (not completely but he has been relatively healthy since that season).
That isn't to say that Beal will have the same outcome, but there were many who thought Stephen Curry's career would be shortened by his ankle issues. (The quotes in that article in hindsight sound crazy don't they?) It just goes to show you that these guys are very young and it's really hard to determine if Beal can overcome these injuries or not.
And here's another quote from Statman's piece I took issue with:
Remember how Beal was repeatedly compared to Ray Allen when he was entering the league? He shot his lowest 3-point percentage since his rookie year this past season, 38.7 percent. His all-around offensive game has improved, which resulted in Beal averaging a career-high in points (17.4 per game), but in-season consistency was extremely hard to find.
Perhaps this issue is correlated to his inability to stay healthy. But again, we are forgetting that this is a 22-year-old man. Is the story already written for him?
Beal would have to accomplish a lot to be Ray Allen, but there are things that he can improve on.Oh by the way, guess what Ray Allen point percentage was at 22 years old? 36.4%. So far for his career, Beal's career 3 point percentage (39.7 percent) is only .3 points behind Allen's career average (40.0%), so is he really that bad of a three point shooter?
That is all the points that the author made for not signing Beal but here are some reasons you should:
What would be the backup plan to not signing Beal? The best free agent shooting guards available are as follows:
- Dwyane Wade - not happening, too old to match core
- DeMar DeRozan - is this realistic? Not a great outside shooter
- Evan Fournier - not a bad option, but doesn't have the ceiling that Beal has, probably the best Plan B if Beal's gone that is.
- Arron Afflalo - on the wrong side of 30, more of a role player than star
- Eric Gordon - perhaps more injury prone than Beal
- Courtney Lee - a good defender, but not a reliable first or second option on offense, also on the wrong side of 30
You get the point. We haven't seen him play in another offensive system
We just don't have substantial evidence to show that Beal's lack of development isn't coaching related.
The best of Bradley Beal is yet to come
Beal may have played four years in the NBA, but he is not in his prime at the age of 22. Many players who have gotten max contracts (assuming Beal will get a max contract), that did not earn their max contracts at the time that they received them. For some perspective, John Wall probably didn't deserve his max deal when he received it in 2013.
Players don't get paid on production in this market, they get paid on potential. always a risk involved. They can turn out to be great like the case of Wall, or not in paying Roy Hibbert.
Conclusion we need to look at the whole picture of why it makes sense to re-sign Beal. It's not ideal, rarely will these situations be ideal, but you have a young player who could potentially be one of the best shooting guards in the league for years to come. If you don't pay him, there will be plenty of teams lining up to do so.
We need to look at the whole picture of why it makes sense to re-sign Bradley Beal. It's not ideal -- these situations rarely are anyway -- but you have a young player who could potentially be one of the best shooting guards in the league for years to come.
If you don't pay him, there will be plenty of teams lining up to do so, and at worst, you may end up losing Beal for nothing.