NBA prospect Bradley Beal is earning some high praise, and he hasn’t even done anything to deserve it, yet. Beal is considered, by most NBA scouts and draft analysts, to be a top five pick in this year’s NBA draft.
The highly rated shooting guard from the University of Florida has drawn comparisons to current NBA players, most notably: Eric Gordon and Ray Allen.
I agree with the Gordon comparison, but I am hesitant when comparing him to the greatest three-point shooter the NBA has ever seen. I was watching an interview of Gator coach Billy Donovan, and one reporter asked him if Beal was the “greatest Gator freshman ever” and Donovan replied,
“You know Mike Miller was pretty good, Donald Harvey was pretty good, I mean [Udonis] Haslem was pretty good. There have been some pretty good ones, but uh, he’s certainly right there and up there.”
After hearing that from Donovan, I don’t know what to make of Beal. If he isn’t better than Haslem or Miller, especially since he was one of the highest rated players coming out of high school to play for Florida in the past 10-15 years, then it really puzzles me.
Also in the interview, to hear Donovan say that Beal never really encountered any struggles in high school bothers me. In a seven-point loss to Ohio State, Beal went 6-16 from the field, finishing with 17 points and five turnovers with zero assists. Against Syracuse, Beal struggled against the 2-3 zone, going 2-9 from the field, including 0-5 from three-point range and finished with seven points. Beal went 2-15 against UAB and 5-15 and 1-10 against Kentucky. He was at his best in the NCAA tournament, though.
Beal went a combined 23-38 from the field and averaged 15.7 ppg in four NCAA games. So I would say that he started to show us some of that potential that he has in him.
For his size (6’3), Beal is an above-average rebounder and defender. He also possesses above-average athleticism and strength. I guess that’s why he is drawing comparisons to [Eric] Gordon. Both players also have some combo-guard skills in their game because they are both under-sized two guards. Beal needs some more work on his ball-handling, though and I would like to see his one-on-one game improve.
And after watching film on Beal, I haven’t been able to draw a comparison to [Ray] Allen.
When Allen played at the University of Connecticut, he was already a superb three-point shooter. I know the line was a foot closer back-in-the-day, but Allen shot nearly 47% from three his junior year. Allen also averaged 23.4 ppg as a junior and was a First Team All-American.
In the NBA, Allen has made the most three-point field goals of all-time, scored over 22,000 points (and counting), is fifth all-time in career FT% (89.4), will be in the Hall-of-Fame when he retires, and (just for the fun of it) he has made nearly $180 million from playing in the league.
I think comparing Beal to Allen if unfair to Beal and a disgrace to Allen. Their games are chocolate and vanilla. Allen is a catch-and-shoot three-point specialist who can come off screens and bury 25-footers to win games. In his younger days, Allen was able to get to the basket, but he always had the ability to shoot the ball at a high percentage. When you shoot 40% from three for your career, you’re considered a “dead-eye”. If you don’t know what dead-eye means, look it up.
Don’t call me a hater, I just think it’s unfair to compare a kid to a professional who has done so much in his career and will go down as the greatest shooter in the game. Beal has shown, in spurts that he has potential to succeed in the league. But what separates players at the next level is their work ethic. Consistency is something that NBA owners, GM’s and coaches will take nine times out of ten. If they know what they are going to get from a player on a nightly basis, it makes it easier to build a team.
In my mind, picks 1-3, or in some cases, 1-5 should be reserved for future “franchise-type” players. In this year’s draft, I see roughly two or three players who, depending on what team they get drafted by, could become franchise players. Those players are Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Drummond (even though I am not even 50% sold on Drummond). So yes, in my mind Beal is being over-hyped.
Do I think he can become a solid NBA player? Yes, I do.
Do I think he will be the next Ray Allen? No, I don’t.