Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal is in a free throw frenzy

Bradley Beal is in the midst of an insane scoring streak for the Washington Wizards. He’s getting it done thanks in large part to some “free” buckets.

All-Star or not, Bradley Beal has just been unstoppable lately for the Washington Wizards.

Recently, the Wizards shooting guard has taken his game up a notch and is currently on a scoring streak that few other NBA stars ever enjoy.

Sure, Beal is posting some pretty impressive averages this season; 28.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists with a true shooting percentage of 57.6 percent and a usage percentage of 33 percent. Statistically, this is Beal’s best season yet.

However, over the last seven games, Beal has blown those numbers out of the water. Check out these stat lines:

  • 29 points, 6 assists, 10-21 FG
  • 38 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 16-24 FG
  • 36 points, 8 assists, 16-24 FG
  • 40 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 12-22 FG
  • 47 points, 6 assists, 13-31 FG
  • 34 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 7-16 FG
  • 34 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, 11-23 FG

Somehow, those aren’t all-star numbers, but they average out to 37 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 6.0 rebounds with an insanely efficient 52.9 field goal percentage. In those seven games, the Wizards have gone 4-3, and are winners of their last two.

Beal’s been balling. There’s no question about that, but how he’s been getting his buckets, especially in the last four games, is something new.

In the first three games of Beal’s scoring streak, he shot a total of 14 free throws. In the next four, he took 66 attempts from the foul line. In losses to the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, Beal shot 18 free throws in each game. In each of the following two games — wins against the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets — Beal went to the line 15 times.

Beal’s been getting to the line much more frequently this season than he ever has. During his first seven seasons (488 games total), Beal only had nine games in which he attempted over a dozen free throw. In 41 games this season, he’s already done it eight times.

But his recent frequency is truly uncharted territory. Before this season, Beal had NEVER attempted more than 16 free throws in a single game. He’s done it twice in the last four games. Why? According to Beal, himself, he realized it’s the easiest way to pick up points.

Obviously this is a small sample size, but this is some James Harden-level efficiency. Bradley Beal? On James Harden’s level?! Yes. It’s just four games, but Beal averaged16.5 free throws over those last four games. Harden leads the NBA by averaging 12.2 free throw attempts per game, per Basketball-Reference.

Next: 3 reasons Bradley Beal was snubbed from the All-Star Game

Before you start laughing, look at the numbers. The two shooting guards might not be on equal footing now, but Beal’s on a pretty good trajectory. Are we witnessing Beal’s next step? We’ll have to wait and see…

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