2012 NBA Draft: Ranking the Top Landing Spots for Florida's Bradley Beal
"Ray Allen meets Eric Gordon."
That's how ESPN's Chad Ford sizes up Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal.
But what team is the best fit for such an enticing amalgamation?
Beal is all but locked in as a top-five selection in this month's NBA draft. After racking up over 14 points and six boards per game as a freshman, the Saint Louis, Missouri native chose to forgo his sophomore season. Now countless NBA teams are vying for his talents.
With deep range and pro-ready court smarts, Beal should be successful wherever he ends up playing. But who makes the most sense? Would Beal be best fitted in Charlotte orange? Or would he be better off alongside John Wall in Washington?
Let's count off the five best fits for Bradley Beal as we approach the 2012 NBA draft.
5. Charlotte Bobcats
After finishing with the worst regular-season winning percentage in NBA history, the woebegone Charlotte Bobcats are slated as the second overall selection in 2012.
Playing under the watch of Michael Jordan is certainly a plus, and Charlotte is young with plenty of cap space. Add Beal to a cadre of backcourt talent in guards Kemba Walker (pictured), Gerald Henderson and D.J. Augustin (should he re-sign), and the Bobcats become playoff contenders in time.
However, would Charlotte's backcourt become overcrowded? So many former first-rounders may clout Beal's playing time and, subsequently, his development and progression at the pro level. Beal is a mid-range player who can set up his own shot, but with Charlotte's depleted interior, running his offense becomes much tougher.
If Beal does fall to Charlotte, it could be a feasible fit. But there are more promising landing spots out there.
4. Portland Trail Blazers
Unlike Charlotte, Portland showed a few glimpses of promise in 2011-12, and more importantly, they boast a far better low-post presence with LaMarcus Aldridge (pictured).
Portland currently sits on the sixth and 11th picks, which appears to be a hair too far down the pecking order to grab the Florida phenom. Beal only worked out for New Orleans, Charlotte, Washington and Cleveland, telling ESPN that "everybody's pretty much telling me I won't go any lower than that (No. 4) so I just limited myself to where I fit in best."
However, with two lottery picks on their hands, could Portland trade up for Beal? The cry has already been heard around B/R.
Beal would be welcomed to Rose Garden Arena with open arms. Incumbent shooting guard Wesley Matthews would grant Beal some time to acclimate to the pro level.
Portland's head coaching spot remains vacant, but if the Blazers were to move up a few spots and take Beal, he could be in for an exciting start to his NBA career.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland has an energetic fanbase and a point guard effervescing with promise in Kyrie Irving (pictured). With the fourth pick in next week's draft, the Cavs could certainly look Beal's way.
Last year, Cleveland's roster checked in at an average age of under 26, good for eighth youngest in the league. At just 18 years old, Beal will likely have an easier time adapting to pro life in a younger, fledgling locker room.
The Cavs also augmented their winning percentage by almost 100 points from 2010-11. Good things are happening in Cleveland, and Beal may end up in the mix.
Perhaps the most glaring problem in the Cleveland situation is head coach Byron Scott, who was identified as a coach players don't like to play for and has had notable high-profile feuds with many of his guards.
2. Washington Wizards
Don't look now, but Washington is on the upswing.
Yes, the same Washington that won just 20 games last year is already establishing itself as a formidable foe for 2012-13.
The Wizards recently shipped a second-round pick and Rashard Lewis to New Orleans and received big men Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza in exchange. With guard John Wall (pictured) at the 1 spot, Ariza at the 3, Nene at the four and Okafor at the 5, all Washington needs is a serviceable 2-guard.
Playing alongside Wall in the backcourt could be immensely rewarding, and the new-look Wiz suddenly flaunt a respectable inside game.
With the third selection in the draft, this has the makings of a superb fit.
1. Chicago Bulls
A top-five talent joining the ranks of a championship contender? It just might happen.
If a deal does transpire and Beal winds up in the Windy City, watch out.
Adding Beal to the likes of All-Star Derrick Rose would propel Chicago's backcourt to elite status. The Bulls lacked production from their 2 spot last year, and aging Richard Hamilton would provide Beal with a safety net and an invaluable veteran presence.
Chi-town's lockdown defense and established post game provide the perfect environment for Beal to develop. With Tom Thibodeau as head coach, Beal's potential grazes the roof of the United Center.
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