Bradley Beal: My Secret Basketball Crush

The Washington Wizards may have lost to Evan Turner and the Indiana Pacers, but that does not mean there weren't bright spots. John Wall pushed the break well, Gortat really showed up, but in my opinion the best thing for Washington that came out of last season was Bradley Beal. With stunning athleticism, solid size and a picture perfect jump shot, Bradley Beal has all the makings of a future superstar. As for the purpose of this article, I will be looking at the multiple facets of Beal's Game that make him so lethal, possible ways that Sam Hinkie could acquire him and how he would fit with the Sixers.

A. The strengths and Weaknesses of Bradley Beal:

  1. Shooting. First and foremost Bradley Beal is a dead eye shooter. Per BBALLBREAKDOWN good fundamentals include: the hop, when you catch the ball give a little hop before setting up your jump shot; the twist, all good shooters turn their bodies so their shooting shoulder is lined up with the rim and the sweeping of the legs, jump slightly forward to increase power. Beal incorporates all of the above into his jump shot and the results are fantastic. Last year, Beal shot 40% from three, on around 5 attempts per game, and nearly 80% from the line. Additionally, Beal can shoot off the dribble, spot up and on the move, without his True Shooting Percentage (TS%) fluctuating too much (51% 47.7% 52.1% per ESPN [insider subscription required]).
  2. Off ball offense. Beal, as I mentioned earlier, is a lethal shooter which factors greatly into his ability to pour in the ball without being a ball dominant player. But shooting is not his only weapon, per basketball reference, Beal scores 1.324 PPP (Points Per Possession) on cuts, to put that in perspective the league average is 0.889 PPP. This high basketball IQ allows Beal to get off open shots more often as he puts himself in a place to succeed on the court by moving to open spaces giving the ball dominant John Wall a chance to find him for easy buckets. Also, by simply being a knock down shooter Beal opens up the paint for slashers like John Wall and Garret Temple as well as bigs like Nene or Marcin Gortat.
  3. Passing, Bradley Beal is simply put one of the best passing Shooting Guards in todays game. His Assist Percentage (percentage of players possessions that end in an assist) is the fourth highest of all shooting guards at 19.7% and his assist to turnover ratio is an impressive 2:1. This leads to Beal being able to create for others which in turn opens up more opportunities for him to score and show off his shot.
  1. Rebounding, while not very important for guards, Beal grabs an underwhelming 3 boards per game. This may not be a super important item but it will factor into the team rebounding as he won't give you 7 rebounds like an Evan Turner or Lance Stephenson. For Sixers purposes it may not be a large problem as they finished the season 19th in Rebounds and were without Nerlens Noel for the entire campaign, this is largely in part to the fantastic rebounding capabilities of Michael Carter-Williams
  2. Shot selection, Bradley Beal may be a lethal shooter but sometimes he gets a little carried away and his poor field goal percentage of .419 can attest to my statement. Shot selection is a large issue for Beal and he needs to learn when to fire away and when to use his advanced passing and ball handling skills mentioned above to either create for a teammate or give himself a better look.

B. How would Bradley Beal fit in with the current Sixers
The only players on the Sixers who in my opinion have a guaranteed spot next season are Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter Williams (I will expound on Thad missing from this list in part C). This leaves three holes to fill in the starting lineup. Beal would slide in at shooting guard and stretch the floor immediately opening lanes up for MCW. His ability to handle the ball would allow MCW to alleviate some of his responsibilities and not let defenses key in on him as the only reliable ball handler like he did last year. His athletic ability will come in handy in the Sixers high pace offense as he will be able to push the ball up the floor or use his superior passing skills to find the open man on the break. On the defensive end, Beal's size disadvantage will be masked when pared with MCW and he will be allowed a little more leeway having a solid shotblocker like Noel protecting the rim, a commodity not found in Washington right now. Additionally, if the Sixers pick up Andrew Wiggins in the upcoming NBA draft, his lack of ability to handle the ball can be hid from opposing teams through the new 76er's backcourt's ability to handle and pass the rock, letting Wiggins play off the ball which is where he should be right now. Lastly, Beal is a likable humble person who Brett Brown and the city of Philadelphia will have no trouble embracing.

C. Possible Ways The Sixers Can Acquire Bradley Beal
In my opinion there are three logical scenarios in which the Sixers can receive the talents of Bradley Beal, I have ordered them in the order in which I believe that they are most likely to happen.

  1. Free Agency. Bradley Beal is currently under contract through the 2015-2016 NBA season after which he becomes an restricted free agent. Seeing as the Sixers have massive amounts of Salary Cap space they can sign one-two year deals for the upcoming season to keep this space free to sign Beal to a high contract that the Wizards won't be able to match. Additionally, if the Sixers acquire him through the free agent market they won't have to give up any assets to receive him.
  2. Thaddeus Young + 2015 First Round Pick (If in the lottery) + Future Considerations For Beal + Otto Porter. This trade is actually not unreasonable as the Wizards have a pressing need at Power Forward and need to get rid of the failed third pick that is Otto Porter. The 2015 first round pick is interesting as it is owed to Miami unless we are in the lottery so we would have to make this trade near that draft. Also, the 2015 Draft Class is not regarded very highly and there is not believed to be very much talent coming out of that draft. The future considerations aspect is interesting because for this trade a single second round pick, maybe throw in rights to an overseas player, could be enough to sway the mind of the Wizards GM.
  3. Hollis Thompson + Pelicans Pick + Future Considerations For Beal. I admit it, this will never happen. But, the Wizards need a small forward for the future and the sharp shooting, defensive minded Hollis Thompson could fit well into their system. Additionally, Beal's shooting will not be missed as Thompson can step in and shoot lights out if needs be. The 2015 first round pick is interesting as it is owed to Miami unless we are in the lottery so we would have to make this trade near that draft. Also, the 2015 Draft Class is not regarded very highly and there is not believed to be very much talent coming out of that draft. Additionally the Wizards receive the 10th pick in a very strong draft class as well as something for the future, (2nd Round Picks, Arsalan Kazemi, Furkan Aldemir) to add pieces to their roster.
D. Conclusion
I firmly believe that in 4 years Bradley Beal will be considered one of the best shooting guards in the NBA and I believe the Sixers have a chance to add a large piece of their rebuild if they go after him. As I eluded to earlier, Beal fits in very well with the Sixers and a core of MCW, Beal, Wiggins/Parker, Noel would be an Eastern Conference power for years to come. Additionally, this lineup could potentially lock down defensively and create havoc for opposing wings and bigs alike.

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