Bradley Beal doesn’t wear his copper-colored tie too often, but felt that representing the Wizards in Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery was one occasion that warranted him to put it on display once more. The tie is special to him, but he’s not ready to call it lucky.
“All my luck is with the man upstairs,” Beal said Tuesday in New York, before the sharpshooting youngster helped record the most important three of his young career.
After helping the Wizards jump five spots to the third overall pick in the June 27 draft, Beal might want to rub his “special-occasion tie” on his right leg, which still hasn’t healed enough for him to be cleared to participate in basketball-related activities. Beal’s solid rookie campaign came to a premature end seven weeks ago, when a stress reaction in his right leg was diagnosed.
The Wizards initially stated that he would be out for at least six weeks, but Beal is anxious to have another update in the next week or two, so that he can get back to doing what he loves most. He had his last X-ray almost a month ago, “so I’m probably due for a checkup real soon. I feel no pain, but the [stress reaction] is still there.”
“It’s always frustration,” Beal said of being out. “But at the same time, I have to stay positive, make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. Making sure I’m able to take care of myself and just stay on top of it. Basically just being patient and when I get out there, I’ll get out there.”
Beal has been spending his time mostly in St. Louis, relaxing and hanging out with family and friends. He stays fit by lifting with a personal trainer, riding a bike and swimming, and continues to maintain his shooting form by tossing up standstill free throws.
“I’ll be hard-headed and shoot threes, but I still don’t jump,” Beal said. “Either my mom’s school or my school. I pretty much have access to any gym in St. Louis. They welcome me with open arms.”
While waiting in the back room before the televised lottery event, Beal mingled with two of the more promising members of his draft class, New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis and Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond. Davis joined him on the all-rookie team and the 19-year-old Drummond is still nearly two months younger than Beal, but Beal did accomplish a feat that neither of his peers can claim: He is only the seventh teenager in NBA history to make the all-rookie first team, joining all-stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Tony Parker, Dwight Howard and former NBA player Darius Miles.
“I heard a few names, LeBron,” Beal said of the list. “It feels great. It’s an honor and a blessing itself, to be in the same category and achieve the same things that some of these great guys, maybe even future Hall of Famers have achieved, it’s definitely a great feeling and one I’m really cherishing. Just shows I had a great year, but I have a lot of work to do at the same time.”
Beal is also quickly learning that his words carry more weight with his increased stature around the league. He got caught up in a controversy over some comments he made to a radio station about injured Chicago Bulls all-star guard Derrick Rose, who missed the entire season — including his team’s gutty 12-game playoff run — to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. In a rambling response to a question, Beal mentioned that he would lose respect for a teammate who made a similar decision and that Rose was “scared.” After getting a stream of angry tweets from Rose’s fans, Beal wrote a message to Rose on Twitter explaining that he had no intention of calling him out.
“That thing was blown way out of context. I apologize if I offended anybody, but I would never take shots at a MVP. A all-star. One of the best point guards in the league. It’s not in my character to slander a person like that,” Beal said, shaking his head. “What I was meaning to say is, he shouldn’t come back until he’s ready. It’s definitely a mentality. They took the word ‘scared’ out of context and left out the rest of what I said. Put ‘scared’ like I said he’s scared to play. I mean, he’s Derrick Rose. He’s a hooper. He’s a killer. It was blown out of context. I am surprised by it. But it’s not affecting me.”
Beal has more concerns with his own health after admitting that he unwisely played through an assortment of injuries throughout his rookie season. Now his body has forced him to take the necessary rest, but he’s getting antsy.
“It’s boring because I can’t play basketball,” Beal said. “I’m trying to find as many things to do as possible to keep myself occupied.”
Beal said he plans to attend at least one playoff game, mentioning how Memphis is only a short drive from his home town. Because he had nothing else to do, Beal didn’t hesitate when asked to join Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld at the NBA draft lottery.
The Wizards have several options with the third overall pick, with Georgetown forward Otto Porter Jr. and UNLV big man Anthony Bennett being linked to the team on most mock drafts. Beal didn’t want to get involved, especially because he has relationships with Porter and Kansas guard Ben McLemore, another prospect expected to go high.
“Really, it’s up to Ernie and the front office to make a decision. Whoever they choose, we’re going to welcome him in, and hopefully they’ll be able to help us out next season,” Beal said. “It’ll be great either way. If we decide to go [the trade] route and take a vet, or simply just drafting a player. Whoever they decide to take, they’re going to help us out and continue help us improve for next year.”
As for the tie?
“I might just store this away for when we need a big win against a big team,” Beal said with a laugh.
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