Tag Archives: Ray Allen
After an Olympic break from Diming, I’ve decided to pick up where I left off by examining league-wide offseason activity. And with the happenings over the last two weeks, it made it a perfect time to get back on the horse. The Atlantic Division has spent the summer of 2012 constantly in the headlines. With multiple trades and free agent acquisitions, the Atlantic’s members have had a very busy offseason. In fact, each of the division’s five members has seen major roster overhauls and the addition of at least one player expected to take on a key role in 2012-13. Last year’s winner, the Celtics, have lost a member of its Big Three to the newest Big Three in Miami. However, they bolstered their roster with young players through the draft and the addition of sixth man extraordinaire, Jason “the Jet” Terry. The constantly scrutinized Knicks decided against bringing back Linsanity for an encore, and instead brought in veteran backcourt of Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. The 76ers finally decided to part ways with the underappreciated Andre Iguodala in a shocking move by joining in the fun of getting the better of new Magic GM, Rob Hennigan, in the Dwight Howard trade. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how the Magic traded Howard for Bynum, yet somehow ended up getting Arron Afflalo and let Bynum head to Philly but that’s a story for another column (a shameless plug for the Southeast division’s recap to follow). Raptor fans (they exist, right?) no longer have to wait for last year’s highly drafted Jonas Valanciunas, as he will make his NBA debut this season. They also added veterans Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields to a team clearly hoping to try and stay afloat in this extremely competitive division. With the Barclay’s Center expected to open to start the season, the Nets are now official residents of Brooklyn. Although they really blew it with the new logo, they did manage to get a second star (although you could argue there isn’t a more over rated “star” than Joe Johnson) via trade to ensure they could lock up free agent Deron Williams long-term. All-in-all it has been a very eventful offseason in the Atlantic division. Now a let’s take a closer look at the happenings for each of the division’s members:
Tags: Amare Stoudamire, Andrew Bynum, Atlantic Division, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, joe johnson, nba free agency, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Ray Allen, toronto raptors
Trying to predict the upside or downside of an NBA player is incredibly difficult work. That futile effort is made even more difficult when there’s a much smaller body of work to build upon. It’s why guys like Kwame Brown/Marvin Williams are compared to Shaquille O’Neal/Tim Thomas. The point is that it’s incredibly hard work to begin with, and attempting this with a player like Bradley Beal, the 19 year old shooting guard and Wizards #3 draft pick, is just as difficult. But in the interest of fun offseason articles, I thought I’d give it a try using some advanced-but-basic statistics. Note: the conclusion I came to is simply based on statistical parallels, and it should be noted that no two players are the same. It is more than likely that Bradley Beal will far exceed this flawed prediction further down the road.
Why Bradley Beal is Not Eric Gordon, Ray Allen
There are two names Bradley Beal is most often garnering comparisons with: Ray Allen and Eric Gordon. One happens to be a surefire Hall of Famer, while the other is commanding max contracts during this year’s free agency period. Both Allen and Gordon have made their living in the NBA with their ability to get off high caliber and quality shots anywhere on the court and within the flow of the game. They’re both scorers with very quick releases and crafty games which negates the fact that their athleticism isn’t off the charts incredible. These aren’t bad players to be compared to, but I’m not certain that they’re entirely accurate reads on Brad Beal’s upside.
Let’s get it out of the way right now: Bradley Beal just isn’t Ray Allen. I can see why people want to say that his shooting form is absolute perfection much like Ray Allen’s, but that’s where the comparisons end and they should really should be shied away from. It’s not fair to Beal, and it really just sets him up to be a disappointment. Ray Allen was so much more effective than Beal at his age that the differences far outweigh the similarities.
Allen was an incomparably more effective scorer, for starters. During his first season at UConn, while playing significantly fewer minutes (735 to 1267), Jesus Shuttlesworth was still scoring up a storm. His 429 points in such few minutes seem a tad more impressive than Beal’s 546 playing pretty often on the court. He got to the line at a better rate, too, and after that freshman year he skyrocketed into stardom. I’ve got a beautiful shooting form, too, but I don’t make them like Ray Ray makes them. Looking pretty and being effective are two different things, and because of that I highly doubt Bradley Beal is going to be the same scorer as Ray Allen, ever. So onto the next one…
A lot of analysts immediately compare Beal and Gordon because of the similarities that they have physically. They’re both 6’4ish, very solidly built, shooting guards, and they spent only one year for their respective colleges before punching their ticket to the NBA. Statistically speaking, however, Eric Gordon was a much more accomplished scorer during his college career. Gordon averaged 20.9 PPG on 43.3% shooting during his career at Indiana, whereas Beal stood at 14.8 PPG on 43.5% shooting. That’s a pretty big gap in scoring, but their shooting percentages were very similar (which is where the comparisons come from). The difference between the two is that Eric Gordon was/is a much more aggressive scorer, and as a result got to the line on a more consistent basis.
Eric Gordon knows that getting to the line means easy points, and any effective scorer typically masters the skill of drawing contact very early. This is the biggest difference between the two players, as Gordon’s Free Throw Rate was 65.1% (compared to Beal’s 44.5%). And that ratio is pace adjusted, so it’s glaringly apparent that Beal lags behind in this category (in terms of attempts, 277 to 173 in Gordon’s favor). Even when watching the two, it’s clear the reason behind this discrepancy is clear: athleticism.
Eric Gordon is not an absolutely freakish athlete who can jump out of the gym, but the amount of times you’re going to see him take it to the rack and slam it down vs. Beal? His athleticism isn’t what jumps out at you. He has fantastic body control and balance, which allows him to finish shots using his long arms and positioning to avoid blocks from taller defenders. He needs to learn how to draw contact in, however, because on a night when the outside shot isn’t falling Beal is going to need another way to score points and be effective.
Beal spent almost half of his scoring possessions at the three point line, shooting 46% of his shots from three point range versus 19% on two point jumpers. Even though his shooting stroke is absolutely picture perfect, he still didn’t shoot it effectively until late in the season. John Wall complements Bradley Beal very well in that he slashes, while Beal will linger around the perimeter a whole lot more. Will Beal be more effective as a result? That’s hard to say, but he is going to have to add more variety to his game if he wants to be considered a very good scorer. Part of what makes Gordon so dangerous is that he will attack you in a huge variety of ways. Getting to the line for and-1′s, a crossover dribble, coming off the screen, and pick-and-roll offense.
Speaking of being effective when not scoring, here is another area where Beal and Gordon differ greatly, and why the two players are not the same. In just about every other category except for the scoring column, Bradley Beal is better than Eric Gordon. In rebounding ability, Beal is projected to be amazing in the NBA. His 249 total rebounds dwarf Eric Gordon’s 104, and he more than doubled Gordon in both offensive and defensive rebounds despite playing further from the rim. How useful is that skill?
When you think of great rebounding college guards, not many names come to mind. One that does is Brandon Roy, however. Throughout his entire college career, his average was 5 rebounds per game. Beal has beaten that in year one, and it’s not because he was asked to do less. Beal rebounded whether he was the top scorer or if he had an off night. His 6.73 RPG mark is closer to Jason Kidd’s 6.9 during his sophomore year at Cal in 1994. The fact that we have to reach back a decade to find a comparable rebounding guard says something about his ability. No, he’s not going to be a triple double threat every night, but his rebounding is what makes me ecstatic about him coming to the Wizards (one of the worst rebounding teams in the league last year).
This is actually the one area where Beal and Allen are similar (though I didn’t want to bring this up again). Allen, during his sophomore year of college, averaged 6.8 rebounds per game. Though he did score more than Beal, the two were very comparable in that regard. I’m not going to dwell on this one any more but it should be noted that, while analysts do have high hopes for Beal as a rebounder at the next level, Allen never averaged over 5 rebounds a game during his professional career.
In the end, I think Bradley Beal is going to be a great all-around player, provided that he does work very hard. I think he’s going to be better in more facets of the game than Eric Gordon, but not as talented a scorer. I believe he’ll be able to rebound and pass well like Ray Allen, but he’ll never average 25 or 26 points per game. He’s going to be good, but I’m predicting fringe All-Star, maybe one or two times.
I’m predicting a career similar to…*gulp*
A better Larry Hughes.
Think about it. Larry Hughes played his entire career with ball dominant guards like Ray Allen and Gilbert Arenas (and a young LeBron, who essentially played PG). Wall is actually a much more willing passer than all of them sans LeBron, which bodes well for Beal’s ability to score. I think the comparison is being kind to Beal, because Hughes was a pretty darn good player in his own right. Heck, I even think Bradley is going to be a more effective scorer (though their scoring averages will end up being similar).
Hughes abilities were in his all around game. He could rebound, he could pass, and he was always able to keep the ball moving. His shooting stroke wasn’t all that awesome at all, but he did very well in other facets of the game while not needing the ball. If Beal can become a slightly better version of Larry Hughes, it’s a success.
(Stats courtesy of Statsheet.com and Basketball Reference)
As @TheDCDime’s knowledge base for all things SEC sports related, I have tasked myself with examining why Bradley Beal should be a strong candidate for the Wizards with the third overall pick.
The one-and-done shooting guard from the University of Florida, by way of Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis, MO, is widely considered to be the top prospect at his position in this draft. The fact Beal is so highly rated shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he has piled up awards throughout his amateur career. As a high school junior Beal competed in, and helped win, the 2010 FIBA Under-17 World Championship for the USA. Beal then went on in his senior year to be named Mr. Basketball in the state of Missouri as well as the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year. Fast forward to his lone season as a Gator and Beal found himself a First-Team All-SEC Selection as well as a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Needless to say he has a more than impressive “resume” to put on display, as Beal is in the District working out for the Wizards today. Let me put some of these hours I’ve logged watching SEC basketball this past winter to work, shall we?
Without question Beal’s greatest attribute is his ability to shoot the basketball. For this Wizards team, as it’s currently constructed, you could argue that there is no need greater than that of a dead-eye shooter. If you draw comparisons to Ray Allen and people can say it without laughing like they do about Beal, you know you can shoot the ball quite proficiently.
In every highlight I have seen while preparing for this post there was one thing that stood out about Beal’s stroke above all else. Every time he caught the ball he was in position to shoot. His legs were always under him and lined up to the rim and his shoulders were square to the basket. He overcomes the usual shortcomings of smaller SG’s, which we’ll get into later, by being immediately set to shoot like this and having a quick release to match.
Another thing I love about Beal’s jump shot is how it is always one fluid and identical motion every time he releases the ball. To me, this is where the Ray Allen comparison comes into play. If there is one thing about Jesus Shuttlesworth’s game that has never changed over his career its his quick jumper. From Milwaukee to Seattle to Boston, Allen has brought that same stroke to the floor. In the games I watched this past season, and the highlights I’ve examined, I see the same thing in Beal’s jumper. This will be where he hangs his hat in the NBA for a long time.
As I referenced earlier the biggest weakness to Beal’s game is the fact he is an undersized SG after measuring in at 6’4 1/4″ at the NBA Combine last week. He also isn’t going to blow anyone away athletically like John Wall would. This brings the potential to hurt him defensively against bigger more athletic guards. The fact he already has a solid body, 200 lb frame, and shoulder base that should allow for him to continue to add muscle, should help this going forward.
Offensively, I don’t think either weakness would be much of a hindrance as he’ll be running off screens for the rest of his career. The quick release I referenced earlier, and the fact Beal runs to spots on the floor so well, should make up for the lack of size and top-flight athleticism.
These two things would certainly be the main knocks against Beal. He makes up for these shortcomings to his game with his basketball IQ though. Which in this draft is hands down second to none.
While I would love to buy into the Ray Allen comparison’s I am not about to anoint a 18 year as such.
When I look at Beal I see a lot of Eric Gordon’s game. Their statures are similar, as Gordon actually is an inch shorter than Beal coming in at 6’3″. Both put up similar numbers in their lone seasons of college basketball (B.B. 45% from field & 34% from three, E.G. 43% from field & 34% from three). Both were First-Team all conference selections as Freshman.
Lots of comparisons between the two there. Eric Gordon has had quite the NBA career thus far so while he may not be Ray Allen, yet, this would be a great consolation.
This one was tough because I believe that Beal will be a very solid player in this league for a long time. At the worst he will be a great spot up shooter from long range for any contender. Much like George Hill of the Pacers. Just under 40% of the attempts Hill had for the entire 2012 season were from three point range (147 of a possible 380).
This is no knock on Hill either, he has found his niche in the NBA and performed extremely well in it over his four year career. At the very least Beal would present the Wizards with what Hill gave the Spurs and Pacers: a true threat from behind the arc that can stretch the defense away from the basket.
Why He’s a Good Fit in the District
The Wizards severely lack shooters, plain and simple. The other Mike at The Dime made the case for Harrison Barnes earlier today. While I commend the job he did on that post, there is no way I am being convinced that Bradley Beal isn’t the best shooter available in this draft.
John Wall predicates his game on getting up and down the floor and to the rim as quickly as possible. He is the type of player that draws the attention of multiple defenders every night he takes the floor. Imagine if he had a player he could pass the ball to off of penetration or on the fast break that could be depended upon to knock down a wide open jumper? Wall’s assist numbers would go up, our offense would have a legitimate aspect to it that wasn’t there before and as a result we’d be a more efficient team on that end.
That player is Bradley Beal. If he is available when the Wizards are on the clock in two weeks time then the Wiz Kids will have found their new SG, and filled a massive hole. Could Beal get a better 19th birthday present than finding out John Wall will he feeding him D.C. Dime’s (Shameless plug) for the next few years? Didn’t think so. Hope you’ll be blowing out some red, white and blue candles in two weeks time Bradley. The District is ready for you.