In drafting Bradley Beal with the No. 3 overall pick, the Washington Wizards were able to land the player they most coveted in the NBA draft.
But there were some tense moments in the days leading up to Thursday night’s draft and in the hours and minutes before Washington was due to pick after rumors circulated that perhaps the Cleveland Cavaliers were in discussions to leapfrog the Wizards and move into the No. 2 slot in order to get Beal.
That deal with Charlotte, which owned the second overall pick, never materialized, and the Wizards collectively exhaled when the Bobcats chose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
“Yeah, you’re worried,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. “You heard all day long that Cleveland or Houston or somebody was going to jump up there because of his name, and I got tired of the media talking about Bradley Beal so much the last three days. You know, just shut up.”
Wittman smiled after the playful dig at the media, but clearly he and the rest of the organzition were as relieved as they were giddy over acquiring a player with a consistent mid-range game who can complement point guard John Wall in transition.
Wittman emphasized the Wizards will continue to push the ball next season, and team President Ernie Grunfeld echoed that philosophy by indicating Beal, Wall and Jordan Crawford could be on the floor at the same time.
Grunfeld spoke outside the auxiliary court at Verizon Center shortly after the Wizards selected Beal and well before they were to make their second and final pick at No. 32, acknowledging he had been paying some attention to trade talk involving teams moving ahead of the Wizards.
“Rumors are part of this business,” Grunfeld said. “It happens all the time, those kind of trade rumors. We just have to do our business and do our work, and we did, and we knew who we wanted to take.”
Said Wittman: “I tell myself every time I’ve been in this position, it doesn’t do you any good. You can’t do anything about it. We were going to get a good player anyway, whether somebody jumped up and took Bradley ahead of us or not. There’s some really quality players. We were going to land one of them if somebody decided to jump up there, but there’s no doubt about it that this is the kid that we wanted.”
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