Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has been extremely efficient this season, but has hit a bad shooting slump against the Atlanta Hawks.
During the regular season, players are afforded the luxury of being able to get away with having “bad days.” The best shooters – the likes of Stephen Curry and Kyle Korver, even – can have “bad days” and recover without it hurting the team’s season.
But in the NBA Playoffs, every missed shot counts. “Bad days” aren’t something that a team can bounce back from in a 7-game series.
On Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks, the Washington Wizards were dominated away from home, dropping their first game of the series.
The team, as a whole, looked disinterested on both sides of the floor. John Wall‘s herculean effort – he made 10 of his 12 shot attempts from the floor – wasn’t enough to keep the Wizards competitive.
More from Wiz of Awes
- It would be a mistake for the Wizards to trade for this elite sharpshooter
- When is the 2024 NBA trade deadline? Everything you need to know
- 5 early predictions for the 2023-24 Washington Wizards
- 4 most interesting Washington Wizards storylines for the 2023-24 season
- Washington Wizards: 3 teams that would be perfect fit for Danilo Gallinari
Single-player contribution – no matter what level – isn’t going to get the job done in the postseason.
Russell Westbrook has been putting up monstrous numbers all season long and it’s meant nothing in the playoffs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves down 3-1 in their series against the Houston Rockets and are likely en route to a gentleman’s sweep.
As good as these players are individually, the team, as a collective unit, is what wins games in the playoffs.
More importantly, the core of the team has to produce for teams to win in the playoffs.
Right now, the Washington Wizards have Wall and no one else.
The team’s second most talented player (and arguably their most talented offensive player), Bradley Beal, has been in a shooting slump.
After three games, Beal has made just 6 of his 27 three point attempts, missing all 6 of his tries on Saturday. Following the team’s Game-2 win, Beal spoke about his slump and seemed rather certain that he would break out of it soon.
But his play on Saturday did nothing to quell his own fear. If anything, Beal appeared less confident in himself. Beal was caught pouting after misses, and during a timeout, Wall walked over to Beal to show him support as he hung his head.
Missing that many shots is going to inevitably hurt a player’s confidence, but being visibly frustrated affects the entire team. When he did shoot, Beal seemed as if he was aiming and not letting it naturally fly.
The only way the Washington Wizards are going to make a strong push in the postseason is if their second best player, Beal, finds his rhythm. There’s going to be added pressure on him since he’s struggled, but stars are typically the ones that blossom in those situations. Playoff Beal needs to show up, otherwise the Wizards will find themselves with the series tied.