The Washington Redskins made the decision to start rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III almost immediately after they drafted the Heisman Trophy winner. Griffin III hadn't even hit the practice field before coach Mike Shanahan put him atop the depth chart at his position. The Wizards on the other hand weren't so fast to anoint their top draft pick Bradley Beal as a starter for the upcoming NBA season. Randy Wittman maintains that every player will have to earn the spot.
Now I know it's a different sport and each team has its own philosophy on how to handle rookies, but since the Wiz are coming off a 20-46 record, the team has no choice but to throw Beal right into the mix as the team's starting shooting guard and see how he handles it. Beal was taken third overall in June's NBA draft by the Wiz because he has the gift to shoot the ball, which is what Washington sorely needs from that two guard spot. Beal played only one season at Florida, averaging 14 points before declaring for the pro ranks.
Beal took part in the Las Vegas summer league in his first taste of pro ball and backed up the team's selection, averaging nearly 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists while helping the Wizards to a 3-2 record. Beal didn't shoot the ball particularly well, hitting just 42 percent of his shots and only 30 percent from three-point range, but it was just a five-game sample size. There will be plenty more games for Beal to get his stroke right and it will help Beal to play in the same backcourt with point guard John Wall.
"I think it can work pretty well with John," Beal said recently. "John likes to attack hard on the screen. Being a two guard that's a real fit for me. I think it will be great and I can't wait to play alongside him."
Wizards new coach Randy Wittman -- a pretty good shooter in his NBA days -- can't wait to see the 19-year old suit up.
"All great shooters have great feet, great footwork and you could see in our workout he had it," Wittman said. "He has a stroke all right and the ability to spot up like few players we've seen. He's going to be a good shooter in this league."
Jordan Crawford was the starting shooting guard at the end of last season but the Wizards should use him off the bench as a spark. Crawford averaged 16 points a game as a starter but was dogged by inconsistency and only shot 40 percent from the field. Crawford also has the ability to handle the ball and could serve as a backup to Wall in a pinch.
Two years ago when the team drafted point guard Wall with the 1 pick it was a given he would be the team's opening game starter. It should be the same for Beal.