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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Is Bradley Beal Worth Max Money?

Bradley Beal Austin Rivers.jpg
"Bradley Beal Austin Rivers" by Keith Allison - Flickr: Bradley Beal. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.
Bradley Beal is one of the best young guards in this league. He is merely 22 years old and is on the cusp of receiving a huge raise. He has the talent to be a top 5 Shooting Guard in this league. His shooting ability is on par with the best of shooters. He has the athleticism to beat a guy off the dribble. He has the clutch gene that makes you guard him in the 4th quarter. He has the intangibles to potentially be an All-Star. So what holds him back from being a star?

Injuries
 He is trying to do his best this season but he can't do that if he isn't on the floor.The biggest issue with Bradley Beal is his inability to stay on the court. His body is entirely made out of glass and is very fragile. I am not saying this in any rude tone whatsoever as its not his fault either. There is nothing he  can do except try to come back healthy and prepare himself more before games. 
He has not played a full season yet in his NBA career. In his first season, he played a total of 56 before getting hammered with ankle injury after ankle injury after ankle injury. The series of injuries started when he collided with his teammate, Nene, in a game vs 76ers on March 3rd, 2013. He was basically out for the season as he only played in 5 out of the next 24 games. He missed out on some key experience during that summer as the Wizards training staff didn't clear him to play in the Team USA camp or the Summer league. 

"Bradley Beal Amar'e Stoudemire" by Keith Allison - Flickr: Bradley Beal, Amar'e Stoudemire. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons
The following season, Beal missed nine games of the season due to a stress reaction. He returned vs New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden where he came up clutch and won the game for the Wizards, being called "Blue Magic" because of his performance. He played in limited role for a couple of months before being cleared to play full time. He was able to play through the season and the playoffs in his second season. 

In October of 2014, Beal underwent an MRI that showed a fracture of a bone in his left wrist, which would require surgery. That surgery would also cause him to miss the first 9 games of the season. After making his debut, he went on to play 42 consecutive games until February 5th where he hurt his big toe and, after going through multiple tests, he had another stress reaction in his right fibula.  Beal returned after missing 8 games and played the rest of the season injury-free!

In the 2015-16 NBA season, Beal got off to a fantastic start but the same old nemesis came to say hello as he went down with multiple injuries. He has missed 9 games already this season. Let's hope he can stay healthy for the rest of the season. 

So what makes him max money worthy?
His nickname fits because he is literally the Real Deal when it comes to on-court ability. He has always been a knock down shooter as he has shot over 38% from three in all of his seasons. His contribution in other aspects on the game is also improving at a rapid pace. He also seems to have a knack for showing up for big games. He turns it to another level when necessary. 

The 2015 playoffs alone proved his value as an elite Shooting Guard in the league. He was definitely a top 10 player in the playoffs because of his leadership of the team while John Wall was out. He had very solid numbers, too, as he averaged 23.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, along with 1.6 steals.

Conclusion
He has not proven enough to earn a max contract (especially when the cap rises) but that doesn't rule out the fact that he can still earn a max contract. The 2015-16 season is not yet over and there is still a lot of basketball to play. The Wizards held back on giving Beal a max extension last summer simply because they are a contender in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.

The perfect scenario for Beal is if he gets traded to a solid playoff team. That would ease off the pressure a little bit and also give him a chance to regroup and come back stronger than ever. That would be the best case scenario but the worst case scenario seems to be in he gets traded in a deal for DeMarcus Cousins. He would be entering a situation of chaos where he would be the focal point of the team because Rondo sure isn't droppin' 20 a night. That pressure could ruin his career.