At age 19, Wizards rookie Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's youngest players. But he already has an outlook that belies his years. Beal started and played 22 minutes in each of his first two NBA games last week, but he didn't meet his own high expectations with eight points and three rebounds against Cleveland and just two points and one rebound against Boston.
Afterward, Beal's cell phone filled with text and voice messages giving all kinds of advice -- from folks back home in his native St. Louis or friends from college at the University of Florida. His best bet now? Don't listen to any of it. Beal already has Washington coach Randy Wittman and his staff pointing out obvious mistakes on video.
"It's difficult because you always have people that think they know the answers to everything," Beal said after Tuesday's practice at Verizon Center. "So people are texting and calling me -- 'All that you got to do is you got to do this.' I have too many people in my ear, so I have to eliminate that and keep my circle small and just focus in on what the team needs to do and what I need to do."
Beal, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard chosen No. 3 overall by the Wizards in June's draft after just one season of college basketball at Florida, thought he was playing hard throughout his first two NBA games. It felt like he was giving maximum effort. But film never lies in professional sports. He was out of position here, too stagnant offensively there. When his sweet jump shot has been off he hasn't figured out a way yet to get low and attack his defender, opening up plays for his teammates in the process.
"I know there's a lot of people that want me to do this, this and this," Beal said. "But that's not important. I mean, we're trying to get wins here. We're 0-2 so we have to figure out how to get wins. And the outside people they have to stand outside."
- Brian McNally