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Beal: 'I have too many people in my ear'

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Beal: 'I have too many people in my ear'

It’s probably safe to say that in all of his years of playing basketball, whether it was on the playgrounds of St. Louis or the University of Florida, Bradley Beal has never gone seven straight quarters without making a field goal.

At least not until now.

In his first two games in the NBA, the Wizards’ 19-year-old rookie has taken just 13 shots and has made two of them – a pair of 3-pointers early in the Wizards’ opening night loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Taken third overall by the Wizards in 2012 NBA draft, Beal said Tuesday there are plenty of reasons for his slow start but made it clear his age isn’t one of them. At 19 years and 124 days, Beal became the seventh-youngest player in NBA history to start a season opener.

“I don’t use age or being a rookie as an excuse,” Beal said. “It’s a great honor, honestly, and not a lot of people are in the position I’m in.”

One of the biggest challenges of being an NBA rookie is keeping your inner circle small and sorting through the opinions of those outside the game -- like those from family and friends.

The third of Bobby and Besta’s five sons, Beal lives in Arlington with his two older brothers, Bruce and Brandon. And like everyone else Beal surrounds himself with, they have their opinions on why the 6-foot-4, 207-pound shooting guard is having so much trouble scoring.

“You always have people who think they know the answers to everything,” Beal said. “People texting me and calling me. ‘You gotta do this; you gotta do this.’

“I have too many people in my ear, so I have to eliminate that and keep my circle small and focus on what the team needs to do and what I need to do. I know a lot of people want me to do this, this and this, but that’s not important to me. We're trying to get wins. We’re 0-2 so we have to figure out how to get wins and the outside people need to stay on the outside.”

Strong words for a 19-year-old rookie who is just now starting to feel the demands of being a professional athlete. Those demands include dealing with a veteran coach who is a stickler for details.

“I learned Day One I can’t do everything that Trevor Ariza does or John Wall does,” Beal said. “Sometimes coaches know your bad habits. Coach [Wittman] is on my butt all the time and I don’t have a problem with it because he knows I can be better and he knows I can accept his criticism.”

Following his two-point evening Saturday night against the Celtics, Wittman broke down tapes of the game and showed Beal how his lack of aggressiveness cost him chances to create offense, play tight defense and grab loose rebounds.

“At first I thought I was doing good and everything was going good,” Beal said. “But then he showed me film and film doesn’t lie.”

Beal said he’s getting accustomed to Wittman’s attention to detail.

“He’s on my butt all the time, every practice,” Beal said. “It may be for a small thing like when a shot goes up he wants everybody back [on defense]. He’ll just stop practice and snap. But it keeps me in a good habit and keeps me working on things he wants me to do at a young age. I’m going to respect that and do what he wants.”

Beal’s learning curve has been accelerated by the absence of Wall, who is expected to remain sidelined until the end of November with a stress injury to his right knee. Clearly, the Wizards will need him to produce more than he has in his first two games if they hope to keep their heads above water until Wall returns.

Beal says the scoring will come once he starts feeling less pressure and starts having more fun on the floor, something he says has been lacking.

“I think I’m losing sight of what’s important, which is having fun,” he said. “Throughout all my years of playing ball I’ve always had fun, laughing on the court and having a blast.

“But I haven’t been doing it the last two games because I’ve been distracted with other things I shouldn’t be distracted by. I’m the one that has to change. It’s not anybody else’s fault but mine.”

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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

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USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.

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The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

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USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

The 2018 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 21 and once again provides a glimmer of hope for even the most downtrodden franchises.

The NBA Draft is where teams can prepare for the future; where teams can rebuild and reload.

But the NBA Draft is often a crapshoot. Teams waffle on taking the best fit versus the best available player. Teams often panic and rest on laurels of draft years past. Fans like to build draft stereotypes for individual franchises, and while a lot of that is stupid Internet conjecture, it's fun to talk about and is often some actual truth to it.

So what follows is a look at the Doomsday Mock Draft. What your favorite team is likely to do if all else fails, which it often does.

1. Phoenix Suns: A franchise center who spends his first contract working with the Suns' medical staff more than his teammates.

2. Sacramento Kings: Someone who won't be a member of the Kings by the time 2022 rolls around.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Someone that will make Dennis Schroder unhappy.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: A Mike Conley Jr. repair kit.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Not the heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki.

6. Orlando Magic: A reach that won't pan out.

7. Chicago Bulls: Someone from Iowa State, probably.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: ANYONE YOU WANT LEBRON JUST PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US AGAIN!!

9. New York Knicks: /inserts .GIF of Spike Lee looking disappointed/

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Another big man because HINKIE 4 LYFE.

11. Charlotte Hornets: A North Carolina Tar Heel.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: A playmate for the head coach's son.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan 2.0.

14. Denver Nuggets: Yet another athletic guard.

15. Washington Wizards: Nope. Not touching this one.

16. Phoenix Suns: Someone to pass Devon Booker the ball.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Wingspan. Nothing but wingspan.

18. San Antonio Spurs: One of the Space Jam villains who conveniently falls to the Spurs (See: Leonard, Kawhi. Anderson, Kyle. Murray, Dejounte)

19. Atlanta Hawks: Someone to replace Dennis Schroder.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Someone who Tom Thibideau can play 60 minutes of a 48-minute game.

21. Utah Jazz: A real glue guy. A gym rat. A high-motor guy. Intangibles. Grit. Moxie. 

22. Chicago Bulls: A two-way player who will ultimately get punched in the face by Bobby Portis.

23. Indiana Pacers: DRAFT ANOTHER UCLA PLAYER. WE DARE YOU.

24. Portland Trail Blazers: DRAFT ANOTHER MID-MAJOR GUARD. WE DARE YOU.

25. Los Angeles Lakers: The subject of Lonzo Ball's next diss track.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: A pallet of knockoff burner phones.

27. Boston Celtics: A draft night trade for more draft picks they probably won't use.

28. Golden State Warriors: An unfairly good player.

29. Brooklyn Nets: An unfairly bad player.

30. Atlanta Hawks: We ran out of Dennis Schroder jokes.

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