Bradley Beal recently became the youngest player ever to make 700 three-pointers in their career, but he knows he can be more than just a shooter.
He wants to be known as a player that can score in a variety of ways, create for teammates, and be a defensive force on the other side of the ball.
“I kind of hate the label of just being known as a shooter because that’s one-dimensional,” Beal said. “That’s all you’re known for. I want to be considered as a playmaker, a guy who can put the ball on the floor and create shots for himself as well as for his teammates.”
Brad has an opportunity to showcase his versatility over the next couple of weeks, as his backcourt mate John Wall takes time off to relieve discomfort and inflammation in his left knee.
No. 3’s season is already off to a great start, with averages of 23.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game – all career highs.
Against the Portland Trail Blazers, the first of this stretch without Wall, Brad showed he can play the role of a playmaker in the league.
Beal finished the night with 26 points and seven assists to go with a pair of steals and blocks on the defensive end.
BB found his teammates frequently throughout the night off pick-and-rolls and drives to the paint, which led to him tying his season-high for assists against Portland.
With the Wizards’ star point guard out for several games, Brad will be given an opportunity to show that he can create shots for himself and facilitate an offense for most of a game, responsibilities that Wall normally assumes when healthy.
After the game, head coach Scott Brooks acknowledged Beal will be getting more touches as a result of Wall’s absence and he believes Brad is up to the challenge.
“I’m comfortable with Brad with the ball in his hands, and he’s only going to get better,” said Brooks.
Usage statistics from this season suggest that The Panda is prepared to step up for the Wizards while Wall rests. Beal’s usage percentage (29.0) has exceeded Wall’s (27.8) this season so far for the first time in his career.
As Beal gains more experience as the primary ballhandler for the Wizards, he will continue to develop his game to supplement his sharpshooting ability.
Brooks’ reliance on Beal can only help the Wizards moving forward once their point guard returns healthy. Beal’s experience playing without Wall will force him to grow in a playmaking role over the next several weeks.
And when Wall does return healthy, the Wizards will have two versatile offensive threats that can lead the team and finish off close games down the stretch.