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Hot Take: Bradley Beal is the NBA’s most underrated player

The forgotten man in the Eastern Conference deserves more shine, and it’s not going to happen in Washington

2019 NBA Awards Show Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to Hot Take Week on Detroit Bad Boys. Longtime readers of Detroit Bad Boys might remember the old slogan on the masthead – “A Detroit Pistons blog with completely fair and unbiased opinions of 29 of the Association’s 30 teams.” We’re going to live that truth with writers delivering blistering truth bombs that may or may not resemble reality all week. There are only two rules:

  1. No writing about the Detroit Pistons
  2. No doing any research in support of your argument – it all had to come from the gut.

Bradley Beal is the superstar nobody talks about. In fact, I feel like he might be the most underrated player in the NBA. As much as Pistons fans lament the wasting of Blake Griffin’s considerable talents as he enters the end of his prime, the career arc of Beal is so much sadder.

Narratives get established early and for Beal it wasn’t always flattering. He was a dead-eye perimeter shooter who attempted to do way too much more than that on the offensive end. He was also, unfortunately, injury prone.

That meant in the height of the Wizards’ … uhhh … relevance? … he was not delivering or not playing at all. He was clearly in the shadow of John Wall and the Wiz were unable to ever get past a LeBron juggernaut and into the Eastern Conference Finals.

Then a funny thing happened. Beal got healthier. He got older. And he got a whole lot better. People didn’t notice, including Wall, but Beal has been the best player on the Wizards for years. He’s still a really good defender and all those errant decisions early in his career paid off in an extremely well-rounded game for which he doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves.

Beal is still the dead-eye shooter he’s always been, but now he’s someone who can score at all three levels of the floor and is one of the most underrated finishers in the game. Plays defense? Check. Efficient? Check. Dynamic? Check? Can put the ball in his hands with the game on the line? Check.

What more could you ask for in a superstar player?

The Wizards star is allegedly not on the trade block, and he could be eyeing one of those supermax deals that will take him through his prime. However, his name is going to be in trade rumors in perpetuity because Beal is very good, Wall is very injured and the Wizards will be bad for a long time.

I know that it was sort of a perfect confluence of events, but Paul George led to a historic trade haul for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kawhi Leonard isn’t there to put his giant thumb on the scales but should Beal really command less of a return than George? Isn’t Beal the better of the two players?

I think the answer is obviously yes. That’s no knock on George. It’s a credit to Beal. The NBA’s most underrated player. Hopefully, he can escape Washington and take his proper place in the NBA pecking order.