A Closer Look At Bradley Beal’s Shooting Numbers So Far | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

A Closer Look At Bradley Beal’s Shooting Numbers So Far

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Updated: October 31, 2017

[Coach Brooks speaking to media after practice—talks Beal’s scoring at the 2:10 mark.]

The Wizards were able to get back on track with a win over the lowly Sacramento Kings. Even if the Kings rested starters, the end result is the same: the Wizards did not leave the state of California winless. In that game the Wizards shot a season-high 17-for-34 on 3-pointers—but just one came from Washington sharpshooter Bradley Beal.

He’s struggling with his outside shot.

When the Wizards drafted Beal with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, the consensus among scouts and fans alike was that Beal was gunner in the mold of Ray Allen, and that’s mostly been true. Coming into this, his sixth season, Beal has a career 3-point percentage of .400. Not only has he been above average from beyond the arc, he has also mastered the art of the midrange J as well. Last season, 15.7% of his field goal attempts came from 10-16 feet and he hit on a career-high 50.5%. But this season, Brad is taking more midrange jumpers and hitting less of them: 23.7% of his field goal attempts come from that same range; he’s hitting only 27.3% of those shots.

A part of the reason that Beal is taking so many midange shots has to do with his tendency to take what the defense gives him. Wizards coach Scott Brooks allows John Wall and Beal to make decisions based on certain reads within the offense, and one of those reads whether to attack the hedge in the pick-and-roll. Wall and Beal are using the power dribble to their respective sweet spots near the top of the key instead of using their leverage to keep their dribble alive all the way to the rim. If Beal wants to increase his efficiency (and points per possession), he can either penetrate further into the teeth of the defense, or he can use his step-back dribble beyond the 3-point line.

Small sample size aside, Beal is shooting a blistering 92.9% from within 3 feet of the rim—mostly clever finishes, with only four dunks. He’s not getting more shots there (15% of his shots come from that distance, down from 23.8%), but Beal is doing more with less. His ability to finish around the basket has helped buoy his scoring output this season while he struggles with his outside shot.

Give credit to Beal for improving his ball-handling skills over his Wizards tenure, keeping his head up when he dribbles. Because Beal is much more proficient at attacking and finishing around the basket, you have to wonder whether that’s earned him more respect from referees. Beal’s free throw attempts are now at 5.7 per game, up from the 4.4 attempts that he had last season and higher than his 4.9 career average.

Now if only he could start hitting more of those attempts—he’s hitting less than 80%—Beal would be in perfect position to supplement his lack of outside scoring with points in the paint and at the line (two of the tenets of analytical basketball). There will probably be a regression to the mean in both Brad’s 3-point shooting and his finishing around the basket, but what this data tells us is that Beal is not just a prolific shooter on most nights, but also guy who knows all sorts of ways to put the ball in the basket.

Banking on Bradley Beal

[via @CandaceDBuckner on Twitter]

John Wall threw his annual Halloween party on Monday night, and Bradley Beal showed up as a bank robber. The 2 guard said he was collecting money to help Carrick Felix pay his fines for his one-game suspension for leaving the bench during Beal’s altercation with Draymond Green on Friday night. This is a great gesture from a good teammate who probably has a few extra coins to spare after signing his max-contract extension last season.

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Writer
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. He is going into his second season writing for Truth About It, and also writes for sports analytics website numberfire.com. You can find him in a district bike lane in the Northwest neighborhood of Bloomingdale.