Bradley Beal: Which Team Is Best Fit for Florida Gators' Explosive Scorer?
The list of elite shooting guards currently playing in the NBA is not a lengthy one, which is why Bradley Beal is such an appealing option for teams heading into Thursday night’s NBA draft.
Unfortunately, few teams outside of the top four in the draft will have a chance to draft him.
With Anthony Davis on his way to the New Orleans Hornets with the first overall pick, the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers remain at picks 2-4 as possible landing spots for Beal.
However, which of these teams is the best fit for the former Florida Gator?
The Charlotte Bobcats, well, they have some work to do this offseason.
After finishing last season at 7-59, the Bobcats own the second pick in the draft. However, a recent article on ESPN.com talks about how the team may attempt to trade down in the draft in order to acquire an additional pick.
If the Bobcats keep the pick, Beal may not be their best option due to his position.
Three of the team’s leading scorers last season all play in the backcourt, and each averaged over 10 points per game. Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin and rookie Kemba Walker all averaged over 10 points last season, although Henderson and Augustin missed time due to injury.
Meanwhile, the team’s top frontcourt players, Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens, averaged nearly five rebounds a game and less than 10 points.
Beal is going to contribute to whichever team selects him, but that doesn’t mean that every team is a good fit. With multiple areas in need of improvement and no urgency to add another guard, the Bobcats and Beal are not a good fit.
Back to the board.
With the Bobcats off the board, that leaves the Wizards and Cavaliers as the two remaining landing spots for Beal if he is to be drafted within the first four picks.
And both could be intriguing options for the former Gator.
Both teams ranked at the bottom of the league in points per game last season, an area Beal would help to improve. Both teams also ranked at the bottom of the league in points allowed, an area that Beal’s defense would also improve.
Both teams also have young point guards to pair with Beal.
Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving averaged 18.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game last season for the Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, Wizards guard John Wall averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game. These averages are slight decreases for Wall from his rookie season, but his field-goal percentage increased to .423 percent during his second season in the NBA.
Beal’s 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game from last season could have its effects felt early on a Cavaliers roster that could use another scoring presence in the backcourt.
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But while the Cavaliers could use a player such as Beal, that does not mean the two are the best fit.
The best fit for Beal, instead, is with the Wizards.
The Wizards finished last season at 20-46, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
However, the team has already begun re-shaping its roster.
After acquiring Nene from the Denver Nuggets prior to the trade deadline, the Wizards continued adding to their frontcourt when they recently acquired Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza from the New Orleans Hornets.
That’s a lot of frontcourt additions for a team that averaged more rebounds per game than four playoff teams from last season.
What the Wizards lack, however, is scoring.
A backcourt featuring Wall and Beal would not only give the team one of the best young guard duos in the league, but also allow Jordan Crawford to come off the bench. After acquiring help in the post, the Wizards could improve their backcourt and depth with the selection of Beal.
But there’s another area in which Beal could help the Wizards improve.
The Wizards finished last season with the third-lowest three point field goal percentage in the league. Wall finished the season with a .071 three-point field-goal percentage per game, while Crawford finished with a .289 average.
Beal, meanwhile, posted a .339 field goal percentage per game last season. Although this average is an area in need of improvement going forward, the number of three-pointers attempted per game by Beal shows a willingness to include a solid three-point shot to his offensive repertoire. That attitude may be the type that is needed by the Wizards not only to improve on last season, but also to begin making another run at the postseason in the Eastern Conference.
Beal will provide whichever team that drafts him with a presence at shooting guard that is not easy to find around the league.
But while many teams could use an upgrade at the position, many teams also have other areas in need of improvement that could have a greater impact.
According to the ESPN article that was previously mentioned, the Bobcats may consider trading the second overall pick to the Cavaliers in order to move down and acquire more picks.
This could cause the Wizards to make a move similar to the one made by the Cleveland Browns in April’s NFL draft, when they moved up just one spot in order to guarantee that they would be able to select the player they wanted.
Whether at the No. 2 or No. 3 pick in the draft, both Beal and the Wizards should hope that he is available when the team goes on the clock.
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