On the eve of the 2012 NBA Draft, ESPN's Chad Ford and Grantland's Bill Simmons joined forces for a collaborative mock draft to attempt to predict the first 22 picks of Thursday's draft. Following the selections of Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the first two picks, Simmons made the third selection for the Washington Wizards.
With the no. 3 pick for Washington, I'm grabbing Bradley Beal, the silky smooth two-guard who definitely bought Ray Allen's jumper on eBay. I love this pick even though I watched all four of Florida's NCAA Tournament games and never at any point thought to myself, I'm watching the no. 3 pick in June's draft.
Beal, 19, entered the NBA Draft following his freshman season with the Florida Gators in which he averaged 14.8 points per game and earned first-team All-SEC honors. While Beal has earned Ray Allen comparisons, his 34% average from beyond the arch in his freshman year raises some eyebrows. In the mock draft, Ford gives a potentially better comparison.
Everyone thinks that, returned to the right role, he's Eric Gordon 2.0. Without any other guaranteed superstars in the draft, that's worth pick three and makes him a great fit in Washington, a team without a real shooter or two-guard on their roster.
The 2012 NBA Draft begins with the New Orleans Hornets on the clock as coverage will begin Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.