Nearly one year ago, Bradley Beal was selected as the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Since that memorable day in late June, Beal has experienced many of the highs and lows that the league has to offer. From hooping with President Obama on Easter and hitting his stride in the month of February, averaging 17.5 points per game on 48 percent shooting to suffering a season-ending stress injury in his right fibula. Then, there was those misconstrued remarks about Derrick Rose's inability to return from his torn ACL. All in all, it was a learning experience for the 19-year-old Beal, which will come in handy for whomever the Wizards select with the third pick in the upcoming 2013 draft.
Before this year's draft lottery in New York, we linked up with Beal to discuss his first year in the league, what words of advice he has for the upcoming draft class, his relationship with teammate John Wall, and setting the record straight on the D-Rose comment.
Interview by Jose Martinez (@ZayMarty)
How's the stress injury coming along? Last we heard, they haven't cleared you to play just yet?
Yeah, it's slowly coming along. Hopefully, within the next couple days or week, I'll be cleared to play.
Speaking of injuries, there was a whole thing about the comments you made about Derrick Rose and his recovery…
What was the overall reaction to what you said?
[John Wall] can't leave. He's my point guard and he's like a big brother off the court.
My words were taken way out of context. I'm definitely not that type of guy. He's the MVP and one of the best point guards in the league, so who am I, a rookie, to call him out? It's not even in my character. What I wanted people to digest is that I feel for him. I know how it feels to have to be mentally strong and be able to come back while still playing through the injury. There's always the risk of re-injuring and not being the same. I went through that several times this year. The point I wanted to get across was don't come back until you're 100 percent ready to play, but it was blown way out of proportion.
So, basically, you were speaking from your own point-of-view and not taking a shot at Rose?
Yeah. I've never experienced that before. I can't say that he should do this or this because I'm not inside his head, I'm not him and I'm not even his teammate.
As for teammates, have your spoken with John Wall recently, especially since he's going through his contract extension talks these days?
I've hit him a couple times, telling him things, like "he can't leave." He's my point guard and he's like a big brother off the court. He's definitely someone I want the team to keep around for years to come, so we can see how well we can grow together.
You say he's like a big brother to you, when did that all come about?
I knew John since high school. He's watched me since I was at [the University of] Florida, giving me tips here and there. He's always been supportive of me and now, he has taken me under his wing. Actually, he was one of the first people to hit me up after I got drafted.
When you found out about the final voting for the 2013 Rookie of the Year, where you came in third, did you want to demand a recount?
Nah, Damian definitely deserved it. He played well throughout the whole year and had a huge impact on his team. If I didn't get injured, I believe I would've had a better shot at winning, but Damian proved himself and he's definitely going to be a great player for years to come.
Going into this year's draft, what needs would you like to see the Wizards address?
I don't know because when we have a healthy roster, we are a good team. We'll just have to see because I believe we have all the pieces. Maybe a big man, a couple back-ups, but we have a solid squad right now.
After one year in the league, what was one of the most difficult things you dealt with when making the transition from college to the NBA?
No one really trash talked me [in my first year]. They all respected me and my game.
One is how long the season is. Two, the IQ of the players. As a two, you gotta see the guys I have to guard on a nightly basis, like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant or J.R. Smith. I have to be mentally prepared and battle-tested.
When you did have to guard Kobe, was there any trash talking from him?
That's one question I get often, but actually, no one really trash talked me. They all respected me and my game. It was pretty cool. I kinda expected Kobe to say a few words but he didn't.
So, did you receive any rookie treatment from your teammates?
No, I have great vets. I tell them I love them everyday. The worst thing I had to do was carry Gatorades after games, but that's not bad at all.
What's one piece of advice you would give to the upcoming NBA draft class?
Just to work hard from day one at training camp and don't think you're entitled to anything. Also, make sure you're physically and mentally prepared because it's a long season.
Are you into fashion?
Yeah, a little bit.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
My style is very laid back. Just wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and kicks.
Like, what you've got on right now.
[Laughs.] Yeah. I'm not that far into fashion like these other guys, but I'll step outside the boundaries every once and a while.
Just a little fashion-jacking, ain't nothing wrong with that.
What would you say is a must-have item for the summer?
Maybe some cool J's.
Are you into Jordans?
Yeah, big time.
What are your top three?
The 3s, 4s and 11s.
At the end-of-season interviews, you and Wall were debating over who was more "swaggy." [Laughter.] So, at this very moment, who's more swaggy?
I would honestly love to say me, but it's John. I actually steal some of the stuff he wears and I try to incorporate it into my own fashion. He's been in the league a little more, so I'll give it him but next year, it's going to be different.
What's one thing you stole from him?
I wouldn't say what he wore, but how he wore it. Just a little fashion-jacking, ain't nothing wrong with that.