The Wizards selection at number 3 has been described by many as the turning point in the draft. This is because they have many options and could go in several directions. Once the Wizards make their choice, the rest of the lottery will fall in line. I am of the opinion that this shouldn’t be a mystery because SG Bradley Beal is far and away the best decision the team can make with their selection. Here’s why:
Beal Has Good Size
Many scouts believe Beal could be closer to 6’3″ than the 6’5″ he is listed. One, height is probably the most overrated factor in NBA player evaluation today. That’s true regardless of his actual measurements. However, rumor has it that he measured in at 6’4.25″ inches with a 6’8″ wingspan today at the NBA combine. Those measurements are comparable to the two best shooting guards in this seasons playoffs, Dwyane Wade and James Harden, respectively. His measurements are also comparable to John Wall, who is a very big and athletic point guard to pair him with. Having John Wall minimizes Beal’s height concern even further, if it should exist at all. He is also the top rebounder and shot blocker at his position in the draft. He’ll be fine.
Shooting Guard is a Need
In fact, it is the teams biggest need. After Andray Blatche Jordan Crawford was the least productive player on the Wizards last season. Wins Produced, Win Shares, and Adjusted +/- all agree with this assessment. Of course, most fans already know this to be true and don’t need numbers to be convinced. Crawford is a negative impact and usually costs the team wins. Replacing him with an average player would help the team tremendously. By my math, using wins produced, replacing Crawford with an average player last season would have increased the Wizards win total by nearly five wins.
MKG Doesn’t Add As Much To The Team
The primary argument for the Wizards selecting MKG is that he is a warrior with a tremendous work ethic and non-stop motor. He will bring these qualities to the organization which will help change the culture. While I agree with this assessment, I find the need for a cultural change factor to be overstated. It is apparent to me that last seasons acquisition of Nene helped change the team culture as much as MKG would. The team was 9-32 at the trade deadline and finished 20-46, winning their final six games. The culture is very much changed and drafting MKG would help but not to the extent that non-Wizards fans believe. The team ridding themselves of Andray Blatche, Jordan Crawford, and Rashard Lewis would be more productive towards a change in culture than drafting MKG. Also, by all accounts Bradley Beal is as high character a player as you will find.
The Team Needs Shooters
The team has had some fascination in recent drafts in finding the player with the worst shooter in the draft and selecting him. Top picks John Wall and Jan Vesely aren’t just poor shooters, they have broken jump shots. Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker aren’t shooters either. Jordan Crawford shoots below 30% from three-point range. The team finished third to last in offensive efficiency and true shooting percentage. This is one of the primary reasons why. At some point this needs to be heavily addressed. Adding MKG would just add another non shooter to the lineup. Beal is regarded as one of the top shooters in the draft. He struggled at the beginning of the season but his shot really started falling come tournament time. I believe he will be a very good shooter at the NBA level.
The Wizards Have Drafted Several Forwards Already
In previous drafts the Wizards have already taken several forwards including Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely, and Chris Singleton. It is not known whether Vesely will be a SF or PF but at this time PF is much more likely. This would seemingly eliminate the need to draft Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, especially Robinson. Otherwise the team would come off as terribly short sighted. We also know that this is an organization that will give their young players time and opportunity to develop, often far too much.
It’s What The Fans Want
I hope it’s a foregone conclusion by now that this is a no brainer decision from a basketball stand point. In a poll done by Truth About It Wizards fans responded by saying that Bradley Beal would be their top choice in the draft. Beal is overwhelming the correct choice at this point, on so many levels. All the Wizards need to do now is give a card with Beal’s name on it to David Stern later this month.