Like virtually every second year player in the NBA, Bradley Beal will inevitably struggle at certain points throughout the season. Beal, who’s already missed some significant time due to a stress injury in his fibula, has struggled mightily over the past few games and the Wizards have suffered as a result.
With Nene coming off the bench, Bradley Beal is forced to pick up the scoring load and he becomes Washington second option on the offensive side of the floor. Even though Beal’s ball handling has improved since his rookie season, it’s still not at the point where he doesn’t depend on John Wall for much of his production on the floor. Basically, if John Wall is playing at a high level, expect Bradley Beal to feed off his energy and play well as a result.
Over the past five games, Beal has averaged below 12 points per game with a dismal 38% shooting from the floor, both of which are well below his season average. When Beal is struggling to score, it’s affected other parts of his game and it makes his struggles seem even worse than they actually are. John Wall has done a good job at getting his teammates involved and contributing defensively when he’s having a tough time scoring, and I think Beal has to find a way to become effective when his shot’s not falling. Every shooter, especially one that shoots the ball at such a high level like Beal, will go through difficulties throughout the season, but it’s important that Beal has an impact on the game even if he’s struggling with his shot.
Washington is coming off three straight disappointing losses at home and their schedule doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks. Beal is a major part of Washington’s offense, but he did acknowledge his struggles in last night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Beal on loss to the Warriors: We just were not in tune. We gave up two quick baskets and got down four quickly. That is just something we have to stay away from. Even when he called time outs, they still went on runs. That is up to us players. That is not coach’s fault. I put a lot of it on myself as well.
Bradley Beal obviously knows that he has to contribute more for the team to succeed and it was evident in his post-game comments. Like many other young players around the league, Beal has a tendency to force shots when things aren’t going as planned, but the coaching staff has made a point to address these fixable issues during film sessions and practice. Beal has taken far too many long two point shots this season and he hasn’t gotten to the free throw line much at all these past few games. In fact, Beal has only taken one free throw in the past 3-games and it came after the Dallas Mavericks were called for a defensive three second violation. Beal needs to do a better job at picking his spots on the floor and it starts by mixing it up offensively. It’s clear that he could shoot the ball, but again, he has to find a way to become effective when his jump shots aren’t falling.
With all that said, Beal’s issues are less significant than they appear. Unlike some of Washington’s problems such as roster depth, Beal’s problems are easily reversible if they’re addressed by the coaching staff. The team has stressed ball movement and aggressiveness right from the start of the season, and I have no doubt that Bradley Beal will turn it around sooner than later. It’s certainly frustrating to see a player like Beal struggle to shoot the ball, but don’t push the panic button.
Washington will have a chance to regain their chemistry on the road against the improved Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night.