The ping pong balls have been picked. The NBA draft order is set.
And former Florida standout Bradley Beal finds himself in as strong a position as he did before Wednesday night’s draft lottery.
Most NBA mock draft websites have Beal getting picked anywhere between 2 and 7. CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman is the highest on Beal, projecting him as the second overall pick to the Charlotte Bobcats. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, meanwhile, has Beal going third overall to the Washington Wizards.
The webisite DraftExpress.com has Beal going fourth to the Cleveland Cavaliers, while NBADraft.net has Beal going seventh to the Golden State Warriors.
Here’s what a high-ranking NBA Eastern Conference personnel man told me when asked about Beal’s draft stock on Thursday:
“I liked Beal from the first time I saw him in the McDonald’s All-American game in high school. I thought he had a very good year (at Florida), not a great year. I like him a lot. Some guys love him. Some guys think he’s going to be a superstar.”
Florida coach Billy Donovan has compared Beal to a young Ray Allen. Donovan said at SEC spring media days in Destin that Beal could go as high as second overall, but he doesn’t see him falling past the sixth overall pick. “Brad’s probably only going to have probably three or four (NBA predraft) workouts and that’s going to be it because there is a certain point he’s not going to get past,” Donovan said.
In his lone season at Florida, the 6-foot-3 Beal didn’t shoot the ball as well as projected out of high school, but did just about everything else. He led Florida in both rebounding (6.7 rpg) and steals (51). Beal averaged 14.8 points per game while shooting 33.9 percent from 3-point range, making up for his inconsistent shooting by scoring in transition and along the baseline. Turnovers were an issue for Beal early in his freshman season, but he handled the ball better as the season progressed.
Character-wise, Beal has gotten high marks from NBA personnel men who have done background checks. That’s no surprise to those who covered him closely at Florida. “He’s an A-plus when it comes to character,” the scout said. “And that’s becoming more and more important because in this day in age, with the technology and the 24-hour news cycle, everything gets out there.”
In June, Beal will take part in a select number of private team workouts that will likely impact his draft status. The scout said he thinks that Connecticut big man Andre Drummond could go higher than Beal based on raw physical potential, but that Drummond is more of a high-risk, high-reward pick. He’s also high on Kansas big man Thomas Robinson, but thinks Beal is definitely ahead of North Carolina swingman Harrison Barnes.
“He has a chance to move up in the workouts,” the scout said. “The better he plays, the higher he can go and he will probably work out pretty well.”