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NBA Draft profile: Bradley Beal

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NBA Draft profile: Bradley Beal

Later this month the Washington Wizards will take part in the 2012 NBA draft. Currently the owner of picks 3, 32 and 46, the franchise could go in almost any direction with those selections. The prevailing belief is upgrading the team's perimeter weapons and small forwardwing guard depth is a must this offseason, but few would knock more interior help even with the intriguing core of Nene and kids.

Between now and the draft, were going to identify some of the players the Wizards might target in both the first and second round. Up next, Bradley Beal.

Check below for a running of list of all our draft profiles. More to come before the June 28 draft in Newark.Bradley Beal
FloridaDraft Express overall ranking: No. 5HeightWeight: 6-4, 202 lb (combine numbers)Key stats: 14.8 points,6.7 rebounds in 2011-12. The player: The prototypical shooting guard, Beal boasts textbook form on his shot, drains looks from distance and his impressive wingspan helps him get off shots in traffic and snatch rebounds. Though only 18 his birthday is on draft day the poised Beal is mature on the court and with the media. Considered the premier shooter at his position coming out of high school,his 3-point accuracy (33.9) wavered during his transitional freshman season, but not so in the truly pressure-packed games. Starting with Kentucky in the SEC Tournament and including four NCAA Tournament games, Beal sank 12 of 26 attempts (46.1 percent) from beyond the arc and 58.5 percent from all angles.
The fit: Only the Kings and Bobcats shot worse from beyond the arc than the Wizards (32 percent) last season. Once Nick Young was traded, the Wizards lacked a knocked down perimeter gunner among their top options. Jordan Crawford and John Wall can score in bunches, but primarily off the bounce and by getting to the rim. When defenses sag off to stop penetration or double team Nene in the post, Beal will make them pay. Equally as important, at Florida he showed being unselfish is part of his basketball DNA, deferring to upperclassmen when appropriate. Fellow prospects Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Andre Drummond all could arguably help the Wizards, but only Beal addresses their primary weakness.The issue: For starters, there is that youth thing, though thats hardly a distinctive flaw in this draft. Beals handle is solid, but still needs work on creating his own shot as the bulk of his opportunities and scoring came off passes or set plays. According to Draft Express, less than 8 percent of his plays were isolation situations. Based on his form and high school career, its assumed that his many misses from deep at last season were more aberration than foreshadowing. Seems fair, but you also are graded on what you do..The analysis (all told exclusively to CSNwashington)NBA scout: "Do you go for need like a Bradley Beal? I think a two guard is more of a need for those guys than any other position. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a three-man.There are going to have to take aserious look at Beal.That team needs shooters. If it were me, I would look to upgrade the two-guard."Andy Glockner, SI.com: "Of those four (likely targeted) players, I happen to like Brad Beal a lot. I think hes going to be a terrific NBA player. Hes one of the rare players that didnt show as well in college and I think will be a better pro than what he showed at Florida. He played with two kind of ball hogging guards next to him. I think its kind of hard to be a freshman and get into rhythm with two upper class guards dominating the ball so muchShot 34 percent from 3 this year. Just watching his stroke and talking to guys that have seen him prior to when he got to Florida, he seems like a much better shooter than that. I think that is where the upside will be."Ed Isaacson, NBA Draft Blog: "I would never use the word explosive with him, but I dont know how many people have been able to stop him from getting into the lane over the course of a game. With his quick first step, hes going to a find a way to get in there.
Playing with John Wall, have him run plays that are going to draw Beals defender over to help. Wide open, hes going to knock those down. If hes being guarded by someone who has three or four inches on him, he knows how to use his dribble and ball fakes, all the little tricks great shooting guards have."The summation: Beals one season at Florida lagged behind that of his fellow freshman Kidd-Gilchrist, let alone the All-American Robinson. If given the choice between big and small, teams usually go for size, which is why some suggest the choice should be the powerful Drummond. Smart teams assemble a roster based talentand whether theplayers fit the coach's scheme, but in the case of the Wizards, who knows how long Randy Wittman (or for that matter Ernie Grunfeld) will be around. Thats not a knock, just a reality should another losing season occur. In terms of what the current roster lacks, in terms of floor spacing and in terms of a running mate for Wall, not sure it can be argued there is a better match for the Wizards than Beal.More draft profilesMichael Kidd-GilchristFestus EzeliJeremy LambAndre DrummondThomas RobinsonHarrison BarnesBen Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.

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Ways to jump-start the Wizards sooner than later

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Ways to jump-start the Wizards sooner than later

We’ve reached Tuesday, a game day. The Los Angeles Clippers and Marcin Gortat are in town. What timing. Their arrival and the contest itself aren’t the main focus, not after Monday's drama. What changes if any the Wizards make is.

In the short-term, think lineup and rotation. For the big picture, don’t start crossing names off the roster just yet.

Monday’s headlines included an ESPN report  that the Wizards “started to deliver teams an impression that every player on their roster -- including All-Star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal -- is available for discussion in trade scenarios.” It would be the surprise of all surprises for a trade to go down before Tuesday’s tipoff.

Despite the 5-11 start and contrary to the report, Wall and Beal have not been made openly available on the trade market, multiple league sources tell NBC Sports Washington. Despite the frustrating and taxing start, 66 games remain in the regular season. For a needed turnaround, Wall and Beal are the types of talented players required.

Yet something must change immediately. The Wizards have lost two in a row, both by at least 10 points. They trailed by 20 points in the first quarter and by as many as 29 in the second half during Sunday’s 119-109 setback against Portland. Head coach Scott Brooks called the effort and enthusiasm “embarrassing.” 

“There is no team in this league that can win games if you don't compete for your teammates,” Brooks said Sunday. "And I got to find five guys that are willing to do that.”

That comment alone doesn’t signal an impending change. Brooks has used such language often over the last two seasons yet the starting lineup remained the same outside of injuries. It’s possible Tuesday is different. Lineup changes are being explored ahead of the Clippers game, according to multiple sources familiar with the Wizards thinking.

There’s a possible cheat here. Center Dwight Howard exited Sunday’s loss in the first quarter with a reoccurrence of aggravated gluteal soreness. He did not practice with the team Monday. 

The simple solution means starting Ian Mahinmi if Howard sits, which is actually something he literally cannot do during games because of the soreness. Using Jeff Green for a smaller look is a tick more outside the box.

Let’s ponder a Wizards roster with all intact.

For all the talk surrounding Wall, Beal, Otto Porter and, based on injury, Howard, Markieff Morris is the starter struggling the most. Never a strong rebounder, the 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward is averaging 3.6 boards in nine games this month.

Whether he’s slowed by an undisclosed injury or another factor, Morris isn’t providing needed energy and big man production. Those aspects are required when Brooks wants to deploy small-ball lineups, and use Morris as the 5-man. Morris, one of the eight players on the roster entering some form of free agency this summer, played only 19 and 20 minutes respectively in the last two games.

Green, Morris' primary backup, had 13 rebounds in 25 minutes against Portland. That level of board work is abnormal, but the 32-year-old’s athleticism has stood out all season. While the streaky shooter’s numbers are starting to trend the wrong way after a hot start earlier this month, Green is shooting 51.5 percent from the floor.

With Green starting, Morris could serve as the anchor for the second unit, or Brooks could manipulate his rotation so that the pair play together. Neither is a needed rim protector, but both provide more offense than Mahinmi.

Sliding Kelly Oubre Jr. into the starting lineup – for Morris, not Otto Porter – is another consideration. The Oubre-Porter pairing along with Wall, Beal, and Gortat was among the top net-rating lineups in the entire NBA over the last two seasons. Brooks hasn’t used a similar look as much this season.

Where Oubre offers clear help is energy. The 6-foot-7 forward flies around the court continuously even during games where teammates don’t. Defending opponent’s straight-on, even small guards, is another strength. Starting Oubre opens the door for using him against guards when Wall and Beal struggle to keep foes from penetrating.

This shouldn’t be considered a promotion if it occurs. Oubre remains prone to gaffes in team defense concepts. He is shooting 28 percent on 3-pointers. We’re talking about changing the Wizards’ trajectory. All options should be explored.

In either case, another way for more urgency in the lineup could come from using first-round pick Troy Brown Jr. or center Thomas Bryant. Both were on the court as the Wizards rallied against the Blazers. Brown is an obvious Oubre replacement on the second unit if Oubre joins the starters with Mahinmi the likely odd-man out in the spot.

Here’s the hope for the Wizards: Whatever anger was unleashed recently leads to the needed fix now that the expressions of frustration reached the public. Teams squabble. Feelings are hurt. There is no denying Washington isn’t right. Surely, other teams are checking in per usual, but with a bit extra interest since doors may be open. For now, that’s not the case.

It’s easy to say Washington would be wise to get its collective head straight, put forth a good effort against the Clippers and move forward from Monday’s show. We’ll see what happens. Based on the opening 16 games and Monday’s tabloid-esque headlines, we’ll see. Something must change. If it's not the roster, that leaves the lineup.

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Three things to watch for Wizards vs. Clippers, as Wizards aim to get back on track

Three things to watch for Wizards vs. Clippers, as Wizards aim to get back on track

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Dwight Howard and the Washington Wizards battle Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Marcin Gortat and the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

Here are three things to watch...

Looking for something

The Wizards enter Tuesday night’s game while dealing with an array of issues both on and off the court. They have lost two straight games and sit 5-11 on the season. Meanwhile, rumors of trade talks and dysfunction have them in national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Wizards will now have to compartmentalize all of it and play a basketball game. Awaiting them is a tough and determined Clippers team.

L.A. beat them just three weeks ago on Oct. 28 and have an impressive 10-5 record. That’s tied for third-best in the Western Conference.

Can Wall or Beal get going?

The Wizards’ two best players are scuffling right now. In their last three games, two of them losses, John Wall and Bradley Beal have not been themselves.

Beal is averaging just 17.3 points while shooting 39.6 percent from the field. Wall is putting up just 16.0 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the field.

If the Wizards are to get out of the hole they are in, a big game from either Wall or Beal would certainly help.

Gortat returns

The irony of the current mess is that Marcin Gortat will be making his D.C. return in this game. He started five years for the Wizards and was entangled in some of their controversies over the years. Now he comes back with his new team in a much different position than his old one.

Surely, Gortat will address the media about his return. Will he take the high road or throw salt in the wounds? And how will fans receive the former Wizard? He had a complicated legacy in Washington. 

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