Bradley Real-Deal-Holy-Beal is Making the Leap
USA Today Sports
Bradley Beal had a perfectly decent little season this year after having a perfectly decent little rookie campaign last year. In both seasons, he’s shot quite well from behind the three point line, capitalizing on the open looks provided by John Wall‘s burnt rubber, screeching drives into the lane. By most measures, he was roughly a slightly below average NBA player playing roughly 35 minutes a night, which, all things considered, is pretty solid for a 20 year old.
So far in these playoffs, Beal has become something else entirely. He’s scoring much more efficiently, by shooting more accurately, yes, but primarily by getting to the line at a rate that far outstrips what he was able to muster in the regular season. Beal’s been able to do this by getting into the lane and breaking down two of the best defenses in the league through an attacking off-the-dribble game that was largely missing for much of this season. It’s also worth noting that Beal has been an absolute supernova from 3 this postseason, hitting over 48% (!) over the 6 game sample of the playoffs thus far.
All of this has to be encouraging to Wizards fans who saw Beal mostly appear to be the same player he was his rookie season with only minor improvements. Beal might not be able to sustain the heights he’s hit in these 6 games so far for the duration of the playoffs, but for a second year player to reach these heights against two of the league’s very best defenses on the league’s biggest stage can’t help but encourage. Wall and Beal have all the potential to be the league’s most devastating backcourt for the next decade, if Beal can build off this impressive run. They’re perfect symbiotes to one another, Wall’s slashing game setting up open looks for Beal behind the arc, with Beal’s picture perfect shooting stroke opening up more space for Wall to get into the lane and wreak havoc on opposing defenses and give the Tom Thibodeaus and Frank Vogels of the world heartburn.
If Beal’s 25 points on 18 shots, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals from last night’s Game 1 against the Pacers are any indication of what he might become, the league has its next great superstar guard and the rest of the Eastern conference ought to tremble at the thought of trying to slow the Splash and Dash duo over the next 5 to 10 years.