Bradley Beal has had an up and down season so far for this Washington Wizards team who has struggled to find an identity with John Wall sidelined until recently. On the year, he is averaging 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. He is only shooting 38.4% from the floor and 35.4% from long range. Much of the ups and downs can be contributed to not only being a 19 year old rookie, but playing on a below average team with poor spacing.
However, as the New Year rolled in, Beal has found a rhythm in his game and has been playing extremely well for the Wizards in January.
In 2013, Beal is averaging 18.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. He is attacking the basket more aggressively which is one thing that has helped his shooting percentage in January jump up to 46.3%. The most outstanding stat of this month so far, in my opinion, is how well he is shooting the ball from outside. Beal is hitting 61.1% of his three pointers going 22/36. What is most impressive, and encouraging for that matter, is the confidence with which he is shooting it. Earlier in the year it didn’t look as though he was trusting his shot, and often looked like he was forcing it even on open looks. He now looks to be settling into the game and letting his naturally great form do all the work, and as they say a little bit of confidence can go a long way. Throw in his game winner against the Thunder and his career high last night with 26 points, and Bradley is really having a great January.
Speaking of open looks, how great was it during last night’s game to see John Wall pushing the ball and finding Bradley Beal wide open for a nothing but net corner three pointer? I know some of the excitement got pushed down as the Wizards went all Wizards and let the game slip away in the last few minutes, but that one play should have fans thinking about all the future possibilities for this back court. Wall is still rounding into playing shape and is working on a minutes limit, but he was still able to deliver a double double with 14 points and 10 assists — in just under 26 minutes which is ridiculous production — and showed just how important he can be to this offense.
Bradley Beal still has a lot of growing to do, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but what we have seen out of him this month on offense is more than encouraging. With John Wall’s minutes set to ramp up very soon, Beal should find things coming even easier for him.
The Wall/Beal combo is just getting started. These two are no doubt going to make each other better players.
Let’s just hope that Beal’s climb continues for the second half of the season, and that 2013 is going to bring much more promise than 2012 for Wizards fans.