Nuggets

Nuggets Need Beal Now More Than Ever

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A recent report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania stated that Bradley Beal wants to remain in Washington despite the Wizards’ struggles.

Continuing to ail near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, it’s perplexing Beal is reportedly content, as he is visibly distraught nearly every night. The all-star snub from a season ago is averaging a league-leading 33.3 points per game and is a surefire All-Star pick this season despite his team’s standing.

Arguably the NBA’s best scorer over the past two seasons, Beal is an incredibly dangerous off-the-dribble shooter. He has no problem finishing inside the paint (54% from 3-12 feet) and converting free-throw opportunities (89%).

Given his incredible offensive talent with shooting, using screens, and moving off the ball, Beal would be a terrific fit for the Denver Nuggets.

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Jokers Wild

Here are the four main centers Bradley Beal has played with in his career:

As you can see, Beal has never played with a decent playmaking center, let alone an MVP candidate. 

When paired next to a playmaking-first center like Nikola Jokic, Beal has the possibility of becoming even better. Like Jokic, Beal is very talented when using the pick-and-roll. The two could arguably become the best pick-and-roll/pop duo in the NBA.

With Beal and Jokic occupying most of the pick-and-roll opportunities, Jamal Murray can focus on off-ball activity. Not only would the Beal acquisition give Jokic the best scorer he’s ever played with, but it would give a sleeper effect to Murray who is especially good in catch-and-shoot situations, relocating himself for an open shot. With the pressure and weight lifted off Murray’s shoulders to become the second option, Jamal can form into a better, more effective version of himself.

Trade Nuggets

Unlike many other teams interested in Beal’s services, the Nuggets have the appropriate assets to make a reasonable trade with Washington. Here are two potential options:

Option 1A

DEN receives: Bradley Beal

WAS receives: Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, two first round draft picks (2021 and 2023)

This trade is simple, to the point, and helps both Denver and Washington.

Washington receives a cornerstone piece in Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris — for contract purposes — and RJ Hampton, who was one of Denver’s first round draft selections in the 2020 draft.

Option 1B

Trade originally proposed by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer

DEN receives: Bradley Beal, P.J. Tucker

HOU receives: Salary filler, three second-round picks

WAS receives: Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, three first-round picks

Along with acquiring Beal, Denver also receives PJ Tucker — a proficient three-point shooter and overall gritty defender — from Houston. Adding Tucker to a roster that loses their best perimeter defender in Harris is very important. Tucker provides more playoff experience and understands his role. However, adding Tucker into the Beal package means Denver would need to sacrifice another first-round pick and probably a second rounder as well. 

Is Beal Worth It?

The logic to trading for Bradley Beal is simple.

Why should the Nuggets keep developing another young player when they don’t even give him proper minutes, especially when you’re in contention for a championship? Beal, 27, fits the timeline of Denver’s core and is already a bonafide star. Why wait patiently for MPJ to bloom into possibly a star of Beal’s caliber when Beal is waiting? A Jokic/Beal/Murray core is as deadly as it sounds and Denver shouldn’t wait a second longer.

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About Rex Foster

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