Washington Wizards’ success in the 2016-17 NBA season will ultimately be determined by Bradley Beal, who’s due to have a breakout year.
After a disappointing year and a somewhat uneventful summer, Washington Wizards fans actually have a lot to look forward to during the 2016-17 season.
Washington decided to go the route of “out with the old and in with the new,” letting their veteran free agents walk in order to replace them with younger, developing players.
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The core of the team is being built around John Wall and Bradley Beal. With the addition of head coach Scott Brooks, the team is looking to create a young nucleus to support their stars.
Before the off-season even began, it became clear that the Washington Wizards intended to re-sign Bradley Beal to the full five-year max contract, making him the highest paid player in the team’s history.
As a 23-year-old with legitimate playoff experience, Beal has the potential to blossom into one of the best guards in the league.
For the Washington Wizards, Beal – and his health – could be the primary factor for a successful season.
Staying healthy isn’t the only thing Beal needs to worry about, though.
A known shooter, Beal has to work on getting to the basket, and more importantly, finding a way to the free throw line. In 2015-16, Beal averaged a career best 3.7 free throw attempts and only made 76 percent from the stripe.
Last season, Beal only had four games where he shot seven free throws or more and had zero games in which he shot double-digit free throws. He also had nine games where he had zero free throw attempts; that’s seven more than Harden has had in the past four years combined.
If Beal can keep his stroke behind the arc and make a conscious effort to attack instead of settling, his point totals could rise beyond 20 per game rather easily.
Given his contract situation and the comments Wall made recently, Beal will have pressure to perform this upcoming season.
The two guards are ultra competitors trying to give their team the best chance to succeed, and neither one would sabotage the relationship purposely. Really, Wall’s comments should just be used as motivation for Beal.
The Washington Wizards will go as far as their backcourt could take them, but without Beal, the team won’t have a chance to legitimately compete in the playoffs. We saw how much the team struggled without him on the floor this past season. The team’s success will be determined by how well their shooting guard performs.