When a team finishes with the second-worst record in the NBA, pointing to a single area as the primary weakness is perhaps oversimplifying matters.Then again, the Wizards perimeter shooting was certainly more clang than swish much of last season; Only the Kings and Bobcats shot worse from beyond the arc. After trading away Nick Young, Washington lacked a knock down threat among its true top options - and even one proved not enough.With a series of moves made this offseason, Washington attempted to turn open looks from distance into more than an iffy proposition. The Wizards selected Bradley Beal, he of the textbook shooting form, with the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. They retained leading 3-point shooter Cartier Martin, a late season addition who is now on board from day one. Free agentsignee Martell Webster is a career 37 percent shooter from beyond the arc.Whether all three see enough minutes to help the cause, that's another story and one that will play out starting Tuesday with training camp tipping off at George Mason.Of the three, Beal's status within the primary rotation appears most secure. Granted there are the expected inconsistencies that come with 19-year-old rookies and a potential starting lineup battle with Jordan Crawford looms. However, considering Crawford and all of the other primary guards on the current roster shot under 30 percent from 3-point range last season, the 6-foot-4 guard won't sit because of a few misses.Deemed the premier shooter at his position coming out of high school, Beal's 3-point accuracy (33.9) wavered during his one season at Florida, but he sank 12 of 26 attempts (46.1 percent) from beyond the arc over his final five games. That touch proved lacking during much of the Las Vegas Summer League, though Beal proved capable of scoring in other ways during those five July games. Playing with John Wall should help Beal's professional transition - once the point guard returns from an expected two-month injury absence. The path playing time path for swingmen Martin, he of the journeyman resume, and Webster, a 25-year-old a year removed from back surgery, is less obvious. Martinmade 38.7 percent of his 3's in 17 games last season.Webster drained 42 percent of his looks from distance during the 2010-11 season. The issue isn't their marksman credentials, but when and where to use them. Both can play in the backcourt, but likely not at the expense of sitting Crawford or Beal. Line them up at small forward? Sure, but Trevor Ariza has dibs on the starting slot and Chris Singleton started 51 games in that spot last season. Trevor Booker and perhaps Jan Vesely could also see serve in that slot seeing as Nene, Emeka Okafor and Kevin Seraphin figure to gobble up major minutes inside.Coach Randy Wittman enjoys plenty of lineup flexibility, certainly more than he did after taking over during last season. Yet if the goal is to put multiple shooters on the court - and based on the current outlook - that means some combination of Beal, Martin and Webster must be part of the Wizards primary rotation. That means Singleton, Vesely and others on the potentially deep roster might not see the court as often. If that's what it takes to stop witnessing one long miss after another, Wittman might not have a choice.Ben Standig blogs about the Wizards, Redskinsand the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Benstandig.
Perimeter shooting woes: Addressed, but fixed?
October 1, 2012, 4:04 am