Trying to reach the bar set by Bradley Beal, who started for the Wizards as a rookie in 2012 at 19, isn't attainable for most. His poise and court intelligence made him exceptional, though injuries have slowed his development since then as he enters his fourth season.
Yesterday, the topic was Kelly Oubre, also 19, who was drafted No. 15 overall and acquired by the Wizards in a trade. Several other NBA teams were trying to trade up to get Oubre, a 6-7 forward out of Kansas who is raw when it comes to experience but has special physical attributes.
"People got to understand Bradley Beal was so ahead of his game in terms of his poise, his knowledge, his maturity, most people can't get that stuff down like Brad did," said Garrett Temple as he recalled that 2012-13 rookie season for Beal, who was taken No. 3 overall.
"The thing that you hope for is a guy coming in is willing to learn. That's the thing with Kelly. His athleticism, his length, the sky's the limit for this guy if he continues to accept teaching, accept coaching and apply it. He's done a great job of that."
Beal averaged 13.9 points as a rookie and made 46 starts, and hit a game-winning shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder. A leg injury resulted in him being shut down for the season as the Wizards, who lacked shooters, won just 29 games.
Oubre has joined a different team coached by Randy Wittman. They've been to the playoffs two years in a row. They have shooters (Beal, Gary Neal, Jared Dudley, etc). They have length (Temple, Otto Porter, Alan Anderson). They have a wealth of experience, too. The landscape isn't the same, but Beal was special. He's entering his fourth season and hopes to land an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline. Otherwise, he'll have to wait until next summer when he becomes a restricted free agent.
"I don't know what it was," Beal said of how he's perceived in such a positive light. "Everybody else tells me I'm mature for my age. I handle certain situations really good. I just carry myself in the right way and I have a good work ethic. I guess I credit all that to my God-given blessings and talent and Witt giving me an opportunity. ... Not a lot of 18-, 19-year-olds, come in the league and get a chance to start and really get a chance to play."