Photo by Joe Glorioso
When the Washington Wizards selected Bradley Beal, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Florida with the 3rd overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, everyone expected him to develop into a starter. What we didn’t envision was how quickly Beal would become a star. Without John Wall in the line up for the first two months of the season due to a knee injury, Beal struggled to adjust to life in the NBA. At one point his frustration with his shooting even pushed him to tears and doubt about his young career. But those struggles didn’t last too long. As the calendar flipped to 2013, the 19 year old’s game took off, even prior to John Wall returning to the floor.
If it wasn’t for Beal’s slow start and poor shooting at the beginning of the year, it is very possible that we could be talking about him winning Rookie of the Year and not just making the All-Rookie team.
Beal continued to progress in every part of his game as the season went on, especially when paired with back court mate John Wall. With Wall, and with a few months of NBA play under his belt, he began to find his rhythm. His shooting numbers jump up dramatically when looking at his pre all-star and post all-star splits. Pre all-star break Bradley averaged 13.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and shot only 39.3% from the floor and 36.5% from long range. After the break, he averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and raised his shooting percentage to 47.1 from the field and 45.5 from three.
He finished the season averaging 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 41% from the floor and 38.6% from deep. Twice he won Eastern Conference rookie of the month. He also 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, despite being forced to miss 26 games throughout the season including the final eight games with a stress injury in his fibula.
Beal becomes the first teenager in five years and only the 7th in NBA history to make the NBA all-rookie first team. The other teenage all-rookie players were all-stars Tony Parker, Darius Miles, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant. He is the 15th rookie in franchise history to receive NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.
The other rookies joining Beal on the 2013 NBA all-rookie team include Portland Trail Blazers point guard — and rookie of the year winner — Damian Lillard. He received 29 votes and was the only unanimous selection to the all-rookie team. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans tied Beal by receiving 28 out of a possible 29 first-place votes. To round out the top 5 Dion Waiters of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes also made the first team.
Hopefully for Bradley Beal and for Wizards fans alike, this is just the first of many All-NBA teams awards he will be collecting in his long career.