Going into next year, the Wizards could start Wall at point guard; Jordan Crawford, who declared himself open at birth, at shooting guard; Trevor Ariza at small forward; Nene as a scoring power forward and Emeka Okafor at center. Beal probably comes off the bench along with Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton and others fighting for minutes.
I don’t know about you, but envisioning the Wizards with more wins than the Knicks or 76ers, the seventh and eighth seeds in this past season’s playoffs, requires real imagination.
But, hey, that’s enough logic for now. It’s draft night, where hope supersedes reality.
And did we mention Beal wants to come here? Many 19-year-old ballers in America told, “Happy birthday, you’re now a Washington Wizard!” immediately regret their decision to leave college, feel they have been shipped to the Sacramento of the East.
Beal? “I really can’t wait,” he said. “This is a dream come true, and in the back of my mind I was hoping I was coming here. My prayers were answered. . . . The whole city itself felt like the right place for me.”
Maybe he noticed the Wizards’ knucklehead quotient has been addressed — it’s now one per locker room rather than 25 percent of the roster.
Maybe he realized there is a bona fide big man under contract for many years. Nene is so invested in the franchise’s future that he told the owner, via his exit interview, to not only keep Wittman but also what they need to do to take the next step, to raise expectations, to fight for and make the playoffs.
Maybe Beal realizes he’s the guy to convince Wall not to pull a Dwight Howard, Chris Paul or Carmelo and force his way out of town.
Either way, on Thursday night Washington got a great shooter at No. 3. Shooters are not a dime a dozen. Players can work on their shot forever — Magic Johnson turned himself into a decent jump-shooter — but the truly good ones learned young that they had a gift only a few in this world can boast about.
Beal is one of them. That’s what the scouts say. That’s what everybody who has coached him says. And that is what the film shows, swish after swish.
If he becomes that one guy Wall depends upon to make a big shot, if Beal becomes the one player who takes the scoring load off the team’s overwhelmed-with-responsibility point guard, he does his job.
It may take a couple of years — just as the Wizards becoming a bona fide playoff team may take a couple of years. But Bradley Beal arriving as a special player in this league might just be worth that wait.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.