Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is coming off the best season of his NBA career, as he played in all 82 games and averaged 25.6 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals over 36.9 minutes per game.
Of course, the Wizards were terrible last season, and it doesn’t look like they will be any better this year, which has cast some doubt on Beal’s future in Washington.
But as of right now, Beal is still a Wizard. With John Wall sidelined as he recovers from a torn Achilles, Beal will once again have to take center stage as the focal point of the Wizards’ offense.
So, here are three numbers for Beal to target during the 2019-20 campaign.
3. Shoot 83 percent from the free-throw line
Kind of a random number, I know, but I say 83 percent because it’s a number Beal has yet to reach in his NBA tenure.
He shot a career-high 82.5 percent from the line in 2016-17, and last year, he made 80.8 percent of his foul shots.
Believe it or not, in spite of the fact that Beal has long been known as a deadly shooter, he has shot 80 percent from the charity stripe just twice in his seven-year NBA career.
For that reason, Beal was only moderately efficient over the first four years of his time in the league before finally breaking out with a true shooting percentage of 60.4 percent in 2016-17.
If Beal is able to consistently make a high percentage of his foul shots, he should be an efficient scorer the rest of his career.
2. Shoot 38 percent from 3-point range
Beal only made 35.1 percent of his 3-point attempts in 2018-19, which was a career low.
A lifetime 38.4 percent long-range shooter, Beal has actually shot below 38 percent in each of his last two seasons, as he connected on 37.5 percent of his triples in 2017-18.
Given that Beal has shot over 40 percent from downtown three times in his career, there really is no excuse for him not to make at least 38 percent of his treys, so that is absolutely a number he should aim to hit this season.
As good as Beal was last year, hitting 35.1 percent of his 3s was too low, especially for a guy who has made his living off of being a terrific perimeter shooter.
Before the 2017-18 campaign, Beal had never shot under 38 percent from distance. He should expect to get back to that this year.
1. 25 points per game
Beal will be the clear-cut No. 1 scorer for the Wizards going into this season, and this time around, he won’t even have Wall around for even half the season.
That means Beal should post similar scoring numbers, if not improve upon them.
Is it going to matter for Washington in the long run? Probably not, as it would be very surprising if the Wizards ended up being a playoff team. But if Washington wants to have any chance of contending for a playoff spot, Beal has to average 25 a night.
He proved last year that he is capable of it, and while he probably wouldn’t be averaging 25 points per game if the Wizards were a legitimate contender, it’s okay in this instance, because he really doesn’t have any other choice.