Wizards

Wizards

If it weren't for Bradley Beal, the Wizards would've taken Harrison Barnes with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 draft. Going into this offseason, both restricted free agents are set to earn maximum salaries based on projections about their ceilings rather than where they are at this moment. 

Beal is a 6-5 shooting guard who has missed 26, 9, 19 and 27 games because of various injuries but mostly stress reactions (precursors to fractures) in his lower right leg.

Barnes is a 6-8 small forward, taken four picks later by the Golden State Warriors, who has been the fourth and sometimes fifth option for an NBA championship team.

It's usually easy to look back four years later and say if the right or wrong decision was made. But what is known is how Beal has performed under pressure as the primary scoring option for the Wizards while that intangible is a great unknown about Barnes. 

The Wizards missed the playoffs for the first time in three years with a 41-41 record, but in the last two years Beal performed. He went from 15.3 points in the regular season to 19.2 in 2013-14. He went from 17.4 points to 23.4 in 2014-15.

And the latter number is even more impressive when considering when John Wall broke his wrist in the conference semifinals vs. the Atlanta Hawks, Beal's scoring didn't suffer in the three games he missed and created for others with more than 20 assists.

Barnes dipped from 9.5 points to 7.9 in the playoffs in 2013-14 and basically hit a plateau during Golden State's 2014-15 NBA title run (10.1 in the regular season to 10.6.). How much of that is because Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green monopolize the action?

 

When Curry missed six games because of a knee injury this postseason, Barnes had his chance to fill the void. In those games, however, he scored just six, nine, eight, 10, 13 and seven points. 

What does any of this prove? Nothing. It's a weighting process of the pros and cons.

CSN Bay Area Insider Monte Poole, who covers the Warriors, had this report about Barnes in March. And unlike Beal, he didn't have injuries holding him back.

So did the Wizards make the right call in opting for Beal over Barnes? Despite his injury history, which included a concussion, broken nose, bruised pelvis and shoulder contusion this season alone, that appears to be the case. 

If Barnes hits the market and is allowed to leave (he rejected a $64 million extension before the 2015-16 season began), he'll get similar money to Beal. Based on what CSNmidatlantic.com has been told, however, the Wizards won't be one of those teams in the running at that pricetag.