At the end of their daylong meeting a two weeks ago, Bradley Beal made a simple request of the Washington Wizards. The team had already put Beal through the usual pre-draft drills, took basic measurements and interviewed him over lunch.
Then Beal asked for something in return.
“He wanted us to promise him while he was here that we were going to take him,” Coach Randy Wittman recalled last night at Verizon Center. “So, that was a sign.”
The team held up its end of the bargain and they selected the 19-year-old third overall in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Beal’s a character person, Wittman said, with a knockdown jumper. The coach said shooting comes easy to Beal and the extra distance of the NBA’s three-point line won’t be a problem. Along with his shot, Wittman praised Beal’s defensive ability and aggressiveness on the glass.
“On top of it is the person. That’s really the thing that sold me” Wittman said. “At the end it was, ‘Boy if we get lucky enough to get a kid like this.’ Not only can he play, but he’s a good, quality person.”
Wittman had no concerns with Beal’s height; he said he’s legitimately 6-foot-4. Even so, Wittman said Beal’s height is offset by his broad shoulders. He also held little concern for Beal’s difficult shooting stretch last season; he made just a third of his three-pointers in January and February.
“Once you see the kid shoot, there’s no question that he’s going to make shots,” Wittman said. “Because of his stroke and his fundamentals and his footwork. From a coaching standpoint, there is not a question.”
Wittman wouldn’t say if Beal would be a starter on opening night, as he said the lineup was up for open competition. It was an echo of his response following last week’s acquisition of Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor.
“We all understand what we need to do with making this team better,” said Wittman. “It was no secret and that is no reflection on any of our players here. It’s to make the team better.”
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