Bradley Beal credits rookies for pushing him

Bradley Beal credits rookies for pushing him
May 18, 2014, 4:00 pm
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Wizards' draft picks Otto Porter and Glen Rice didn't get a lot of playing time this year. A large part of the reason is the Wizards are loaded with veterans in front of them at their positions such as Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster and the young but proven Bradley Beal already solidified as a starter.

Ariza had his best season as a pro and is the team's best one-on-one defender, and if you doubt is value see how he fared vs. Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James of the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony. Webster had a down season but was coming off his best year. 

Behind the scenes, Rice and Porter were instrumental in Beal's development. Beal could be seen frequently going one-on-one with Rice -- even when the rookie had a splint on his right wrist after surgery in December. Porter is a more natural fit at small forward. 

"In our workouts, they always competed. Glen is a great defender. He guarded me the majority of the time. He made everything difficult. He made me earn everything. He definitely challenged me," Beal said of the backup shooting guard. "I think Otto is the same way. They competed their butts off. It's just unfortunate that they had so many guys in front of them but when they’re granted their opportunity, they’re going to take advantage of their opportunities.

"There may be times where I go down and Glen you’ve got to step up. Otto, you’ve got to step up. Those guys will definitely be ready."

Beal's competition with Rice, whose father played 15 seasons in the NBA mostly as a three-point specialist, can be colorful.

"He thinks he’s his dad," Beal said. "But that’s my guy. He competes. He does have a little trash talk to him. It brings that fire out of you. That competitiveness out of you. He’s the reason why I continue to get better and better. 

[RELATED: Beal overcame early season blowup with coaches]