The 2012 NBA Draft is Thursday. Predictions, rumors and mock drafts are flooding the internet in advance of the big event. As for the Washington Wizards, conventional wisdom has them taking Florida guard Bradley Beal with the third pick in the first round.
With the third pick of the 2012 NBA draft, the Washington Wizards select Bradley Beal. The Wizards badly need a shooter and secondary initiator alongside John Wall, and Beal is perfect for that role. He has optimal size, can open up the playbook with his ability to run pick and roll and will create better spacing because he is a threat from deep. His movements are efficient offensively, even if his scoring wasn't at Florida. In that respect, he's the anti-Jordan Crawford.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the popular choice here because of his defense, leadership and position (small forward, where the Wizards are weakest), but the Wizards' biggest issue last year, especially after the trade for Nene, was perimeter shooting. Defensively, post-trade, they were actually pretty solid, all things considering. As for the leadership thing, it's very hard for a rookie to come in a chance a culture like Kidd-Gilchrist did at Kentucky. The Wizards though Wall would do that, and he hasn't. The NBA simply is a different game.
Bottom line: Beal does far more to attack the Wizards' weaknesses than Kidd-Gilchrist, and since neither has really distinguished himself as being far better than the other, I'm taking the guy who fits in best on the court.
The 2012 NBA Draft will kick off at 7:00 p.m. EST on June 28 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.