Paul Pierce believes the Eastern Conference has a new top dog at shooting guard: Bradley Beal.
During an appearance on the Wizards Tipoff podcast, the future Hall of Famer, who spent one year playing for the Washington Wizards, talked about the rise of his former teammate (via NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes):
“It’s playing with an edge, as I like to call it,” Pierce said. “That’s what you’ve seen more in Brad and that’s what has made him a better player, I believe. I told him when he starts playing with that edge, ‘it’s going to make you a better player.’ You’ve gotta go out there and feel like you’re the best and this guy can’t guard you. It’s gotta be that mindset. It’s all a mindset. This has nothing to with showing that you’re tougher than this guy or having to fight, it’s just a mindset when you come out here.” . . .
“I think he should be an All-Star this year without a doubt,” Pierce explained. “With Dwyane Wade holding that crown for years, being the top two-guard, I think Bradley Beal should be holding that crown now as the top two-guard in all of the East.”
Well, Pierce has one thing right: Beal is the best shooting guard in the East. But he’s not replacing Dwyane Wade. The latter released that title a few years ago. That happens as you get older.
But, yeah, looking at the Eastern Conference, Beal doesn’t have much competition for the honor. Jimmy Butler was traded West (and has also moved to small forward). DeMar DeRozan comes pretty close to him and is the better facilitator, but Beal has him beat as a shooter and defender.
After that, Avery Bradley and Nicolas Batum, who has yet to play this season, are the only potential 2-guards who could maybe, possibly register in this conversation—assuming, of course, it’s still a conversation as the NBA leans into positionless basketball.