Bradley Beal has the potential to be higher on this list, but his injury history and iffy jumpers move the Wizards guard down the rankings.
For as promising as Beal’s skill-set might be, there’s just no way around the fact that he’s missed a quarter of his career games due to injury. Some seem to be the result of cumulative strain, others the stroke of bad luck. In all they’ve cost Beal and the Wizards quite a bit—including some invaluable developmental opportunity during Beal’s first four seasons. Projecting forward, the likelihood of Beal missing further games has to be priced into his ranking relative to other high-level players. The Beal who does make it to the floor is a nice shooter and competitive defender who hasn’t fully fleshed out his game. Credit is due for the way that Beal can manufacture points out of difficult situations; his off-the-dribble game can redeem a broken play or carve out an opening against tight pressure, both of which are inevitabilities for a competitive team going through a playoff gauntlet. It’s players like Beal who help a team survive. It’s players like Beal, too, who can complicate matters by pulling up for iffy jumpers when they should drive to the rim, create contact, or aim to set up a teammate. (Last year: No. 62)
+ Stellar perimeter shooter with some ability to create his own offense
+ Came into the league so young that he’s still just 23 after four years of experience
– Competitive defender but hardly a game-changer on that end.
– Shot selection can leave something to be desired. Prone to settling.