For years, the NBA Draft, like the MVP award in the NFL, has become a consensus pick.
All the writers, pundits, scouts and coaches circle their wagons around one particular player.
This year is no different, and the player that everyone loves is Kentucky's Anthony Davis.
There are myriad reasons why Davis will make a great number one overall pick. He is as close to a sure thing as we have seen in years.
But a funny thing happens once Davis goes off the board. The draft, for all intents and purposes, falls off of a cliff.
As much of a sure-fire pick as Davis is, the rest of the draft is full of players with definite holes in their games.
That is why Florida's Bradley Beal is the ideal number two overall pick.
The Case For Beal
If you don't know about Beal, you are missing out on a very impressive talent.
Beal basically was Florida's team this year, and is unquestionably the best shooting guard in this draft.
He is athletic, quick, and intense. He possesses incredible range, a great leaping ability, and a knack for on the ball defense.
He can score in a number of ways, he can rebound very well for a guard, and he seems to know how to play the chess game of basketball.
So why isn't Beal a candidate for the number one overall pick?
If Beal were 6'7, he would be the ideal shooting guard. Instead, he is probably a little closer to 6'3, which makes him undersized for an off guard.
But literally every other aspect of his game is perfect for the position.
Why Beal is Better
Just as important as why Beal is a good prospect is his competition.
There are a half dozen players that are technically competing for the number two spot.
Thomas Robinson had a tremendous year for Kansas, but there are questions about his size. If he is 6'9 or taller, he could be a great player. But I think he is going to measure closer to 6'7, which would make him a tweener.
Andre Drummond is the most physically imposing player in this draft, but he is a project. He had a very inconsistent season, lacks defensive and offensive instincts, and has a very limited post game.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a very intense, defensive-minded freak of an athlete, but his offensive game needs work, and his perimeter game is weak at best. Could he turn into another Mark Macon?
Harrison Barnes is one-dimensional and had a fairly underwhelming career at UNC.
Perry Jones has the athletic tools that you want, but he plays like a shooting guard in a power forward's body.
Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Dion Waiters all have skill, but each has either physical or mental maturity issues.
Beal, simply put, has a lot fewer red flags than the rest of the field.
Beal Could Find a Niche
When looking at Beal, there are plenty of comparisons abound. Some have called him an Eric Gordon clone, some liken him to Ray Allen, and I have even heard some Ben Gordon comparisons.
What do all of those guys have in common? None of them were busts.
They all were somewhat undersized for the position, but each could flat-out score and shoot the ball, and if you can do those two things you will have a job in the NBA.
This is also a very weak shooting guard crop. This draft has some good talent at power forward and center, but the two guard spots are very weak.
And if you look at the top of the draft board, there is a lot of need at shooting guard.
Charlotte, Washington and Cleveland are the three teams that are most likely to have a top three pick, and each of them could use a dynamic shooting guard.
In fact, of each of the top six teams that are likely to gain the second overall pick, only New Orleans has a good shooting guard, and he is no sure thing to stick around their organization.
This is a league that is driven by the swing men, and shooting guard is half of that equation.
The good far outweighs the bad with Beal.
In a league driven by athletic guards and forwards that can score, it is crucial to find someone that can score in a number of ways.
Beal is not the biggest guard in the world, but his abilities do not grow on trees.
At the end of the day, the most difficult thing in this league is to consistently make a jump shot, and Beal has shown an uncanny ability to do so.
Top that off with superb athleticism, defensive instincts and a desire to get better, and you have someone that could become a star in this league.
Teams that draft in the high lottery cannot make a mistake on their draft, and Beal is as close to a sure thing in this post-Davis group.