In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas discussed several topics, including the depth of the upcoming NBA draft, what the Wizards should do with No. 3 pick and the potential of Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. No surprise here, but Bilas said the Wizards should take Beal but added that he might not be available when they make their choice. Here are some of the highlights from Bilas:
His assessment of the depth of the draft and who he would pick at No. 3 for the Wizards: I think it’s a draft that’s got really good depth of good players, players that can come in and make a team — some starters, some rotation players, stuff like that deep into the second round. But it’s not a draft of a lot of superstars.
There will be guys that come out of this draft and maybe surprise us. It’s happened in just about every draft, but it doesn’t have a depth of sure fire stars. Anthony Davis is the sure-fire one, I think. But after that there are players with question marks, but a lot of talent in the draft.
What would I do if I were the GM of the Wizards? Having the best scenario I would think for them is having Brad Beal from Florida fall to them. I’m not sure; I’ve got him rated as the second best prospect in the draft behind Davis. And you hear rumors. I have no idea what’s going to happen. But a lot of people like Beal, and it might be an upset to have Beal fall down to three. But you never know.
I don’t know what Charlotte’s going to do with the two pick, whether they keep it or try to trade down and get some additional assets, because they need everything. You have to be prepared for just about every scenario, I would guess.
Comparing Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: They’d both be good. You’re right. They’re very different players. Barnes has probably suffered from the fact that he was so highly rated in high school. When I saw him in high school, I thought he’s a guy that always makes the right play. I thought he was a tremendous athlete and in his first two years of college, I started to question was he as good an athlete as I thought?
He went to the combine, the NBA combine and tested athletically literally, off the charts. He had a 38-inch standing vertical leap, which you don’t see that. That’s phenomenal. His agility drills and speed were fabulous, especially for a guy his size. So he’s got the complete package.
What that told me is that he is a little bit of a thinker on the court right now. He’s very process oriented. I believe this. I’ve watched him play a lot. I really think that he’s going to be a better pro than a college player. Now you say that. You could be wrong. But I see more for him as a pro.
But he was an outstanding college player. Averaged 17 a game for two straight years. He’s a really good jump shooter, athletic. He’s got defensive versatility, he’s long. He’s got a terrific skill set, so he’d be a terrific pick.
The only reason you would take him over Gilchrist is because of his scoring ability. But Gilchrist — they don’t make them like him very often. He’s got a relentless attitude and work ethic that you just don’t see that often. He’s great in transition. Gets to the rim, gets to the free throw line, he’s an elite defender because he can guard multiple spots. You can put him on a point guard or put him on a four-man. He just isn’t a scorer.
He’s going to get his points off of energy, and he can make a shot, but he’s not a terrific shooter. But he’s only 19 years old. So he’s got some growing to do. He’s got to fix that shot. His shot mechanics are not very good. If it’s not fixed, he has to be able to shoot it the same way over and over again, and with the way he’s never square to the basket. His arm flies, his right arm flies out on his elbow, he needs to fix that. He has plenty of time to work on it. He’s capable of doing it.
On what Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will bring to the next level: He can guard anybody. Six-seven with really long arms and tremendous athleticism, you can put him on a point guard out front, or you can put him on a big three or a small four-man, a base up four. He can really impact the game defensively. He’s really energetic. I guess that’s what you’d call him is an energy player that he thrives off of the energy that he brings into a game.
He’s excellent in transition, a good rebounder, gets shots, gets loose balls. He’s going to make you better. The one thing he doesn’t do is he’s not a prolific scorer. He averaged 14 a game last year. He can make an open shot. I wouldn’t classify him as a good shooter, but it’s not like you have to repaint the rims after a game he plays in. He makes free throws and all of that.
But I think to be — sometimes we all get stuck in thinking about well, Michael [Kidd-]Gilchrist is a second or third pick. Usually those guys at that level of the draft, one of the first things you say is they can really score. That’s not his thing. I don’t know any coach in the NBA that would say I don’t want him on my team.
Anybody would covet Michael [Kidd-]Gilchrist because he’s all about winning. He’s a great kid, and he’s relentless. I mean, he is absolutely relentless. That is not something that you can teach. You don’t just say to your guys, you don’t say in the huddle, let’s all go out and be relentless. It doesn’t work that way.
On the dropoff in talent after Anthony Davis: I think Davis is separated from the group. I don’t think there is an NBA decision maker out there that would take anybody but Anthony Davis number one. That doesn’t mean he’s LeBron [James], but he is consensus number one in this draft.
There are some terrific values in this draft, and guys that are going to be really good players. I think I said it earlier, I rate Brad Beal the second best prospect in the draft overall. I think he’s going to be really good. Whether it’s [Thomas] Robinson or Harrison Barnes or all these different guys, there are guys that could wind up being terrific players down the line.
With the players being so young now, you’re comparing — saying all right — Beal’s going to be 19 tomorrow. I’ve compared him to Ray Allen, Billy Donovan has. If you compare him to Ray Allen, you say he’s ridiculous, he’s the all time leading three-point shooter. They’re both 18 years old and they’re pretty similar.
On what he likes about Bradley Beal: Well, there is nothing I see that I hope he doesn’t do that in the NBA. One, he’s a really good young man. So you’re working with a young man that’s got very good character. He went into Florida this last year, and that was a team that had been to the Elite Eight. The guards were experienced and had been there a while. He walked in there and blended in, and yet was still the best player.
He’s an excellent athlete. He can defend. He’s a very good guard rebounder. He rebounds at a high rate for a two-guard, and he shoots very well. His shooting numbers wouldn’t wow you. You look at the overall numbers and say he shot 34 percent from three. Toward the end of the year, his last six or seven games, he’s shot 43 percent. In the NCAA tournament, he shot it great, and I thought he came into his own toward the end of the year. Not only in SEC play, but in the NCAA Tournament. I think he’s a tremendous young prospect.
But his ability to guard people, his ability to rebound. He can shoot it, put the ball on the floor, he attacks in transition. Gets to the free throw line and knocks his free throw lines down. The there is very little he’s not capable of doing. He just needs to get a little stronger and all that stuff. He’s going to be really good.
On Bradley Beal comparisons to Ray Allen: I’ve never been really good at that comparison stuff. NBA scouts do that a lot. It’s kind of like using a comp for real estate, comparable for a home sale. I’ve never been good at that stuff.
But Billy [Donovan] was the one that told me about him. I saw him in high school, and you know, he was headed to Florida, and I called Billy about it and said tell me about the kid, and who does he remind you of and that kind of thing? And he brought up Ray Allen for me.
Then I got to see him up close, practicing and playing in that Jordan game last year, and I thought the comparison was fair. Aside from shooting it, the way he reminds me of Allen, there is a smoothness to his game.
Also his demeanor. Beal does not get flustered very often. He doesn’t change his demeanor.
I don’t know what the right word is. They have a dignity on the floor, on and off. Both carry themselves with class and dignity very well, I think. So I think there are a lot of comparisons that are favorable with Ray Allen.
I realize, and Billy does too, when you use that comparison, you’re saying he reminds you of. Not saying he’s as good as Ray Allen. Ray Allen is one of the best players ever in the NBA and certainly one of the best shooters. He’s got a lot of ability. Heck, I don’t think I’ve looked at his birthday, but I don’t think he’s even 19 yet. Maybe on draft day or tomorrow, so he’s really young too. He’s got a lot of time to mature and get better.