Bucher: Thanks to big men, Wiz are trending up
The Wizards took guard Bradley Beal with the third overall pick in last summer's NBA draft because of his ability to shoot the ball. Washington's brass envisioned ultra-quick point guard John Wall drawing defenders and finding a wide open Beal to knock down wide open jumpers all day with his picture perfect form. That hasn't played out just yet because Wall is still out indefinitely because of a sore knee but Beal has started to assert himself offensively and show why the Wizards selected him so high.
After struggling to find his stroke early in the season which led to a benching, Beal is back in the starting lineup and he has scored in double figures in six straight games, including 20 points and 3 three-pointers in the 99-93 loss to Houston Wednesday night. The 19-year-old rookie has upped his average to 12.3 points a game as well his field goal percentage to a still sub-par 36 percent but he's shooting the ball better. Beal shot a woeful 34 percent in November, but he has improved to 41 percent shooting so far in December.
With guard A.J. Price also out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, Beal's minutes have gone up because Price’s backup Jordan Crawford has been moved over to start at point guard. Beal has logged 38, 39 and 40 minutes in three of the last four games since Price was hurt in that Miami win a week ago.
Beal was held in high regard coming out of Florida after just one season as some scouts compared him to Miami star Dwyane Wade and Heat guard Ray Allen. The 6'-4" Beal has a long way to go to get even mentioned in the same sentence with those two future hall of famers, but his recent play could be a good sign of things to come for the Wizards with or without Wall.