Bradley Beal carried himself with such maturity and poise throughout his rookie season that it was easy for his Washington Wizards teammates and coaches to forget that he’s just 19. His career started with two pitiful shooting performances that pushed him to tears and doubt about his career, but he eventually recovered, regained his confidence and justified the Wizards’ use of the No. 3 overall draft pick on him last June.
Beal, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Florida, continues to collect more accolades for his solid rookie campaign. Nearly two weeks after finishing third in rookie of the year voting, Beal was a near-unanimous choice for the NBA all-rookie first team.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, the rookie of the year, was the lone unanimous selection after receiving the maximum 29 votes. Beal and Anthony Davis, the top choice of the New Orleans Hornets, both received 28 out of a possible 29 first-place votes. Dion Waiters of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes also made the first team.
Beal became the seventh player in NBA history – and first in the past five years — to be a teenager when he made the NBA all-rookie first team. The others are all-stars Tony Parker, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant and former NBA player Darius Miles.
Beal averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He won Eastern Conference rookie of the month honors twice, set a franchise record for three-pointers made by a rookie with 91 and had 13 games in which he scored at least 20 points. He finished third among rookies in scoring, second in minutes per game (31.2) and tied for third in three-point field goal percentage (38.6).
His season ended prematurely when he was forced to miss the final eight games with a stress injury in his right fibula. He missed 26 games and still is unable to do more than shoot free throws as he anxiously awaits a return to basketball related activities.
“People recognize me, but I’m still like a normal person on the street, in my opinion,” Beal said recently. “I don’t think I’m better than you, which is why I still do some of things I’d do if I was still back home, if I was at school still. I’m still going to be the same guy no matter what my bank account looks like. I definitely have a lot more access to things, material things. I’m a 19-year-old and I make a lot of money. Not a lot of kids or people have that opportunity, that blessing I have and I’m very grateful for it.”
The 30 NBA coaches select five players for the first team and five more for the second team, and position is not taken into account. Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler, Toronto’s Jona Valanciunas, Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cleveland’s Tyler Zeller made the second team.
Beal is also the 15th player to earn first-team all-rookie honors in Wizards/Bullets franchise history, joining current back-court mate John Wall, who made the team after finishing second in rookie of the year voting two years ago. Washington has only had five first-team all-rookie winners in the past 35 years: Tom Gugliotta (1992-93), Jeff Malone (1983-84) and Jeff Ruland (1981-82) are the others.
From 1963 to 1977, the Bullets produced 10 first-team all-rookies, including Hall of Famers Gus Johnson (1963-64), Earl Monroe (1967-68) and Wes Unseld (1968-69). Rod Thorn (1963-64), Wali Jones (1964-65), Jack Marin (1966-67), Mike Davis (1969-70), Phil Chenier (1971-72), Nick Weatherspoon (1973-74) and Mitch Kupchak (1976-77) also received the honor.
Larry Stewart (1991-92), Juwan Howard (1994-95), Rasheed Wallace (1995-96), Courtney Alexander (2000-01) and Jarvis Hayes (2003-04) were all second-team all-rookie.