NBA Draft 2012: 7 Reasons Bradley Beal Will Be Next Season's Rookie of the Year

Bob Bajek@bobbajekAnalyst IIIJune 19, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 7 Reasons Bradley Beal Will Be Next Season's Rookie of the Year

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    Bradley Beal might not be the talk of this upcoming NBA draft as players like Anthony Davis of the Kentucky Wildcats and Thomas Robinson of the Kansas Jayhawks are seen as "sure" franchise players.

    But the Florida Gator will be the next NBA Rookie of the Year Award winner for various reasons.

    Coming off a strong freshman year while leading the Gators to the Elite Eight, Beal showed that he has more than just potential (skills and drive) to get the job done.

    While Davis and others are having NBA scouts and executives salivating with their potential, Beal will steal the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Here are seven reasons why.

1. Bradley Beal Is a Leader

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    What do freshmen know about being leaders?

    They are supposed to be learning the ropes from the upperclassmen as they transition from prep to collegiate ball.

    Bradley Beal didn't need that transition with the Florida Gators, which greatly impressed head coach Billy Donovan.

    Donovan called for Beal to be a leader after Florida lost top players Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus as they declared for the 2011 NBA draft.

    “I think the one thing that makes Brad such a special player is he’s really such a good team guy who understands team dynamics and chemistry,” Donovan told the Florida Times-Union.

    In the same article, the St. Louis native comments on his leadership qualities.

    “I have to be a leader anyway regardless of how I’m playing, well or not good,” Beal said. “Even if things aren’t going well for me, I have to step up and accept the challenge and be a leader.”

    Leadership is what sets the men apart from the boys. Beal is a man.

2. Bradley Beal Possesses Solid Strength

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    Another area Bradley Beal bests his competition is his strength.

    Beal is a 6'3" shooting guard, yet he also has a solid frame of 207 pounds.

    Beal is a good shooter with a nice first step, and he uses his strength as he drives to the basket.

    In the post, Beal's strength comes in handy as he is a natural rebounder (he nabbed 6.5 boards per night for the Florida Gators).

    While Beal doesn't have great athleticism and lacks a couple inches, his strength will be a reliable equalizer.

    Beal's strength is more potent when looking at other potential first-round picks.

    Kentucky's Anthony Davis and North Carolina's John Henson are significantly underweight while North Carolina's Tyler Zeller and UConn's Jeremy Lamb lack strength.

    The NBA is a more physical game, so Beal's strength is a plus.

3. Bradley Beal Has Good Shooting Mechanics

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    You can't teach offense, as Bradley Beal already has his shooting mechanics down pat.

    Even in high school, Beal was known for his beautiful jumper. National scout Jerry Meyer of said Beal has "an extremely dangerous pull-up game in the midrange" and said Beal is "A gifted jump shooter" while having "(e)ffortless mechanics with a buttery release and a consistent follow-through."

    Here's a video of Beal as a high school senior. Beal just has a knack of getting the ball into the hoop.

4. Bradley Beal Has Swagger

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    Attitude plays a vital role if a draft pick succeeds in the NBA or not.

    Bradley Beal possesses a tough swagger that will do him great future service.

    Beal grew up with three older brothers who both played football. His twin brothers Bryon and Byron would challenge him to run into them and try to score.

    A natural off-guard, lack of depth forced Beal to play significant time as a power forward when backup big Will Yeguete broke his foot in late February. Beal thrived in the post and averaged eight boards a game in that role.

    Beal is reminiscent of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook in how he relentlessly attacks the basket and isn't afraid of drawing contact. An effective attacking guard does wonders in the NBA by scoring and opening up the perimeter.

    Beal's swagger will be an awesome NBA asset.

5. Premier Bigs Have Big Question Marks

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    Most of the top big-men prospects have big question marks concerning their games, which gives Bradley Beal an advantage of winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

    UConn's Andre Drummond has an extremely raw offensive game while being an abysmal free-throw shooter who makes Shaquille O'Neal look great (29 percent).

    North Carolina's Tyler Zeller can get overpowered in the post.

    Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Kansas' Thomas Robinson are both power forwards who are a bit undersized (6'8") while lacking mid-range games.

    Illinois' Meyers Leonard is going to be a project pick.

    And even though Baylor's Perry Jones III is a great talent, he's a tweeter who needs to figure out his NBA position (he played both forward and center positions for the Bears).

    These top big men are all Top 20 picks who will see significant playing time, but all will realistically struggle to the NBA's increased physicality.

6. Bradley Beal Has Less Pressure Than Anthony Davis

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    Anthony Davis is a prodigious talent, but the Chicago native will have added pressure by being the NBA's No. 1 pick.

    Davis is going to be "The Man" right away with the New Orleans Hornets. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. That's tough pressure when he's still 19 with a hobbled helper in Eric Gordon.

    Davis is still really raw offensively, so don't expect him to light up the scoreboard as he faces bigger and stronger post opponents.

    As for Bradley Beal, he's a bit short for a starting off-guard. However, Beal is super strong, has a great mid-range game and can drive to the basket.

    Beal's strength also will assist his defense, as he could physically wear down weaker guards.

7. Bradley Beal Will Work Well with Kyrie Irving If Cavs Pick Him

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    Bradley Beal is beastly, and he will be more dangerous if Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers would become his backcourt mate.

    While sources tell Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick North Carolina's Harrison Barnes will be nabbed by the Cavs if the Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards pass on him, Beal would be the ideal backcourt mate for Irving, who was the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year.

    Amick did have Beal going to Cleveland in his first mock draft, and the Cavaliers worked Beal out alongside Barnes June 16, according to a Cleveland Plain-Dealer report.

    Beal and Irving would be a very young, athletic and potent backcourt as they would play well off each other.

    Irving is a good playmaker and would consistently find a cutting Beal for a catch-and-shoot situation. Beal's on and off the ball movement would also allow Irving more space to either create for his teammates or himself.

    A rising star like Irving would take the pressure off Beal so he could just worry about improving his gam and not solely leading the team. This will increase Beal's statistical productivity.

    Bob Bajek is an NBA/Chicago Bulls featured columnist. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed on and Twitter.