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NBA AM: Brad Beal’s Strong Support System
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On October 29, 2012 @ 9:30 am In All,NBA | No Comments
The Washington Wizards made a big investment in rookie shooting guard Brad Beal, using the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft on him. They look at him as the shooting guard of the present and future, giving him the opportunity to start immediately with hopes that he’ll develop into someone who can help them get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Typically a veteran and assistant coach will take a rookie under their wing and really dedicate themselves to helping him, but in Washington everyone on the roster has offered a helping hand to the promising rookie.
“It’s not just one single person,” Beal said to HOOPSWORLD. “The first guy to actually do it was John [Wall]. It just shows the tremendous leadership he has, Trevor Ariza and all the other vets. From there on, the whole team all 14, 15 guys have helped me out because they’ve been here before. They know what it takes, what to do in certain situations. They help me out a lot.
“I think I’m fully prepared [for the regular season]. My teammates have done a great job of helping me and giving me tips and being a mentor and being a big brother so to speak on and off the court. I’m going to approach the regular season like I have this preseason, just come in with the right mentality every game and come in focused and ready. My teammates have done a great job of making sure I’m doing the right things.”
One of the biggest things Beal’s teammates have stressed to him is how real and unavoidable the rookie wall is. He played in 37 games last year at the University of Florida, which is a lot by college standards but not even half of the NBA’s regular season alone.
“They’re just saying it’s a long year,” Beal said. “I’m going to hit a wall eventually with so many games and how tiresome it can be on your body. The biggest thing they told me is to have fun. Sometimes we lose sight of what’s important to us and why we play the game, to have fun and have a love and passion for us. As long as I keep having fun and keep doing what the team wants to do I think we’ll have a great year.”
Also making the transition to the professional ranks easier on Beal is the similarities between his new head coach Randy Wittman and coach at Florida Billy Donovan. While many rookies have to adjust to a completely new style of play and system, Beal has the luxury of just improving on what he already knows.
“They’re both similar,” Beal said. “They’re both straightforward coaches. What they demand is what they want. They’re both similar, it wasn’t a hard transition for me at all. The way coach Donovan coaches is the same way coach Wittman coaches. It’s similar to the pro style, a lot of pick-and-rolls, pin downs, screens and coming off screens. And, the way he teaches defense is the same way coach Donovan taught defense as well so, so far it hasn’t been too much of a big transition for me.”
Beal was the only projected starter on the Wizards to play every game during the preseason. They have been bitten hard by the injury bug already, but Beal hasn’t looked at that as pressure to step up and produce more.
“It’s not any added extra weight on my shoulders or any pressure that’s put on me necessarily,” Beal said. “I’m not taking it or viewing it that way at all. I think we’ve been handling the injury parts pretty well, guys are working out trying to get better. Guys have stepped up, guys off the bench have stepped up and played tremendous minutes and doing a great job for us. With John [Wall] three or four of our point guards have done a great job of running this team. It starts with the point guards and they’ve been doing a great job of helping us out. We’re kind of short at the big men position, but the guys we do have are making that conscious effort every night to give us what we need.”
While Beal will have the opportunity to be one of the most productive rookies in the 2012 class, the odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award is Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets. Many believe he’ll run away with the award and while it’s something that Beal would love to win, he’s not prioritizing it over team success.
“It does not factor in to me at all,” Beal said. “Is it a goal, it’s possible. If it happens it happens but it’s not what I’m really shooting for. I’m trying to focus in on what the team needs to do and trying to making a great run in the playoffs. That’s our main goal and hopefully we can be able to succeed at that. If that comes along down the lines I’ll be happy, grateful, and blessed to be named that tremendous award, but it’s not what I’m really focused on right now.”
Beal will make his season debut Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers when he goes head-to-head with fellow rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters.
Harden Will Be A Rocket Long-Term: ESPN is reporting that James Harden, who the Houston Rockets acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in an unexpected blockbuster trade on Saturday night, will be signing a long-term extension with the team for the maximum allowed over a five-year period. They are able to offer five years rather than the four Oklahoma City was offering because of the designated player provision, which the Thunder had already used on starting point guard Russell Westbrook.
I would love to Thank Oklahoma City for 3 amazing years! Teammates and Fans were thee best. The love will always be there. Thanks Again.— James Harden (@JHarden13) October 28, 2012
When the Houston Rockets were stockpiling assets and cap space this summer to land a star player, Harden was probably considered to be one of their most unrealistic targets. Nobody expected the Thunder, who have clearly stated that they wanted to keep him even after the trade became official, to let him go. Everything they did this offseason created the belief that they wanted to give the group that came up short of winning an NBA championship another chance, but that was before Harden refused their best offer.
$4.5 million is being thrown around a lot as the figure that was the difference between the Thunder keeping Harden and not. However, because Houston can offer a fifth year, Harden will be bringing in nearly $20 million more total. So, the difference for him is far more for than the $4.5 million figure being mentioned so prevalently.
In Houston Harden will join Jeremy Lin, who is also trying to prove himself as a full-time starter, in the backcourt. He’ll help take a serious load off of Lin, especially in the playmaking department where Harden is underrated in.
In a true testament to how quickly team’s fortunes can change in the NBA, the Rockets went from lacking a go-to player to having one of the bright young stars in the league who will eventually be signing on for the next five years. Just when it seemed like their rebuilding plan lacked direction, they finally found their guy. This is now Harden’s team, and they couldn’t be happier.
Looking for coverage of the James Harden trade? We have you covered with a complete breakdown of the deal, video analysis by two of our senior NBA writers, insight to the truths behind the trade that nobody saw coming, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti’s comments on the trade as well and its impact on the team.
Lawson Talks Stall: The Oct. 31 deadline for the members of the 2009 draft class to receive extensions is fast approaching. Since July Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson has been very optimistic that a deal would be worked out, but negotiations are going down to the wire and now they have reportedly stalled according to HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy.
Earlier this month we reported that the Nuggets’ offer was in the neighborhood of $44 million over four years. There are some incentives in the offer that could push his annual salary up towards $12 million annually, but that hasn’t been enough to get his name on the dotted line. Nuggets head coach George Karl admitted it was a distraction this weekend; if a deal does not get done the distraction will only increase.
The 2013 free agency class is going to be thin with starting-caliber point guards, which makes becomes a free agent an attractive option to Lawson and his camp if the Nuggets don’t budge from their current offer.
Unlike most of the members of the 2009 class, there a definitive decision has not been made on a possible extension for Lawson. His situation is worth monitoring over the next two days. There has not been any indication that the Nuggets would explore trade offers for Lawson if a deal isn’t agreed to, but then again there wasn’t a hint that James Harden was on the block before he became a Houston Rocket on Saturday night.
Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri has built this team around depth and not being reliant on one player. He has depth behind Lawson in backup point guard Andre Miller and is also preparing for the possibility of the newly-acquired Andre Iguodala becoming a free agent this offseason, although he would have to exercise his early termination option and give up the $16.1 million he’s slated to make in 2013-2014 in order to do so.
NBA Chats: There are two chats on schedule today, starting with Bill Ingram at 11 am est. Bill covers the NBA out of Dallas and his chats fill up quickly, so make sure to get your questions in now. Stephen Brotherston is next up at 3 pm est. Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors.
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