By Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
For FOX Deportes
The 2012 NBA Draft is set to take place in precisely 48 hours time, which feels odd because just 168 hours ago the actual NBA season came to a close with the Miami Heat disposing of the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.
Imagine if the series went 7.
That means game 7 would be played…tonight. But I digress.
With the draft being thrust upon us like LeBron barreling down the lane on a fast break, the pundits and the prognosticators are stating that this is the deepest draft in years. Why? Because last year’s lockout skirted my potential candidates for last year’s draft and they held out for one more year? Seems like a logical reason. However, I’m not nearly as sold on many of these players for their future in the league.
I’ve seen Anthony Davis compared to a wide range of lanky and lean big men who have come into our league. From players like Marcus Camby to an ambitious comparison to Kevin Garnett. Are we sure that Davis won’t be any better than Anthony Randolph? But again, I digress.
After watching tons of college basketball this season, there’s only one player I feel that I’d hitch my wagon to in being a bonafide star at the next level. He’s a Florida Gator, he’s a St. Louisian, and he’s been compared to Jesus. Shuttlesworth, that is. (Or Ray Allen, if you haven’t seen “He Got Game. Seriously, you haven’t seen “He Got Game”? Come on. Do better.) Ray Allen is a pro’s pro, and if you’ve earned that comparison, that’s saying a ton.
Being that Beal is from the Gateway to the West, I leaned on my brother from another mother NicholsAccomp for a proper background story:
Beal is really, really good. By far the most skilled high school player I’ve ever seen play roundball. I once saw him score 41 points in a rivalry game with minimal effort. He’s physically gifted, has a high basketball IQ, has a great work ethic, and isn’t even close to his ceiling since he’s only 19. Folks from St. Louis and his people that are close to him expected that he would make it to the league and its an enormous deal. They saw all the work he put in, the progression in his game, and he’s truly earned it. It’s a hell of an accomplishment.
Well said, Bro. Nichols.
The Washington Wizards are slated by many to pick Beal with the No. 3 pick in the draft. While many would rather lean on a player with slightly more upside in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or taking a bigger chance on a player like Andre Drummond, Beal HAS TO BE the pick for the Wizards if they’re serious about being a contender in the east for the foreseeable future. It first started with trading JaVale McGee and acquiring Nene. Then trading Nick Young. Then trading Rashard Lewis. This team got better by eliminating the noise around their team. Now they have a blend of quality veterans (Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza on the frontline) along with some youthful talent (led by John Wall, along with Jordan Crawford and Jan Vesely) to grow on.
Adding Beal brings professionalism, athleticism and poise to a squad desperately in the need of all three. No one’s ever questioned the work ethic of Beal, and the Wizards have perennially been a team that was perceived to be stacked with talent, but unable to flourish. Beal is much more athletic than most people think. He’ll be able to run the break with Wall, he’ll be able to run the point when Wall needs a blow, and defensively he’s above-average compared to his peers.
The Wizards can’t mess this up, but its not out of the question. If the Cavs get him at 4 then Cleveland could have their best backcourt duo since the days of Mark Price and Craig Ehlo. Until then, the only can’t miss prospect in the 2012 NBA Draft sits waiting for the right team to make the right decision.