Florida's Bradley Beal was a latecomer to most people's mock drafts and big boards. While the likes of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Thomas Robinson were eyed as potential draft picks throughout the 2011-12 college basketball season, Beal struggled at the beginning of his only season with Billy Donovan's Gators before rebounding to average 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
On Thursday, he worked out for the Wizards at the Verizon Center, and Mike Prada of Bullets Forever was there.
"Throughout the year, I was struggling because I wasn't having too much fun," Beal told reporters. "I was too worried about my shot rather than doing other things to impact the game. [But] once those things started happening, my shot started falling and I started having fun again."
Suddenly, Beal now feels like he can do anything. He thinks he can show teams he can make plays with the ball in his hands, saying he wants to "showcase" his pick and roll game. He thinks he's a better defender than people realized, proving it in one drill where he had to double-team the post, then close out on the shooter in the weakside corner. With Sam Cassell standing there ready to pounce, Beal initially gave him some space, but then slid over beautifully to cut off Cassell's driving lane and force him into a fadeaway 18-foot jumper. The other two participants -- Hollis Thompson and Quincy Roberts -- did not fare quite as well.
For all Beal's promise, both Chad Ford of ESPN and Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated see the Wizards taking Kentucky's Kidd-Gilchrist with the third overall pick in this month's NBA Draft. Ford has the Cleveland Cavaliers taking Beal with the No. 4 overall pick, while Amick sees Beal dropping to the Kings at the No. 5 spot.