Bradley Beal: Why Rookie Has a Legit Shot at Starting for Washington Wizards

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Bradley Beal: Why Rookie Has a Legit Shot at Starting for Washington Wizards
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Move over, Jordan Crawford. Bradley Beal is coming for that starting spot.

The Washington Wizards are through just two preseason games in 2012, but it's already becoming obvious who the starting shooting guard should be when the regular season starts on Oct. 30.

Beal—the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards—has been extremely effective in what's been his first taste of the NBA.

The 6'3" shooting guard logged 27 minutes in his first preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats, scoring 18 points, collecting three rebounds and dishing two assists while showing head coach Randy Wittman why the ex Florida standout was worth the high draft pick.

The 19-year-old Beal also added two steals and turned the ball over just once on a night when he shot 7-of-17 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

There's no doubt that Beal was more impressive than Jordan Crawford, who the rookie will be competing with for a starting role. Crawford scored just six points on 3-of-12 shooting and had more turnovers (three) than assists (two) against the Bobcats.

The youngster again outplayed Crawford against the New York Knicks on Thursday. Beal netted 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting and handed out five assists while turning the ball over just once. What's most impressive about Beal is his ability to enter the game and take over, as the Washington Post's Michael Lee points out.

Crawford played considerably better against New York than he did against the Bobcats, dropping 17 points and going 2-of-3 from three-point range, but again had more turnovers than assists and hasn't supplied the Wizards with the rebounding and steal numbers than Beal has.

Beal has shown great range and scoring ability so far this preseason as well as the ability to find open teammates and take care of the basketball—all impressive skills for a kid who spent just one year at the University of Florida.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The idea of coupling two freakishly athletic guards in Beal and John Wall in Washington's backcourt has to have Wizards fans excited for the upcoming season. With a Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic squad and a Bobcats team that was dismal last season, the Wizards have a chance to move out of the basement of the Southeast Division.

Give it some time, but I think you'll see Beal in the starting role by the start of the season and I don't think it's a stretch to say he could be playing in Houston with the rest of the '12-'13 All-Stars.

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