Morning tip: Beal's shot variety expands

Morning tip: Beal's shot variety expands
October 21, 2013, 8:00 am
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WAKING UP with the Wizards, who are practicing Monday at Verizon Center before playing their final exhibition games on the road Tuesday and Wednesday. ...

Before the Wizards' first practice to open training camp almost a month ago, Bradley Beal walked up to coach Randy Wittman to assure him that the 2013-14 season would be different.

"'Man, I feel so comfortable where last year I didn't know what I was getting myself into,'' Wittman said, recalling what Beal told him in their conversation. 

That confidence is evident even in the preseason as Beal, in his second season, has led the Wizards in scoring in the last four games. 

He had just 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting in the opener when he failed to make a three-pointer. Since then he has scored 16, 29, 21 and 30 points. He's 12-for-24 from long range.

"He's maintained his aggression. Missed, made shots, took it to the basket, 1-2 dribble pull-ups, open 3s. He had the gamut of shots," Wittman said when assessing Beal's play in their only win, 100-82 vs. the Miami Heat. "When he had an opening to get to the rim, he got to the rim. 

"When he knew he couldn't get to the rim it was a 1-2 pull-up before they could recover to him. Those are the things he's been working on. It's good to see those things pay off."

Making Beal's improvement that more striking is that he ended his rookie season on the bench because of a stress injury to his right ankle. He had to refrain from basketball activities and missed the Las Vegas summer league because of it. 

"I'm more relaxed mentally. I'm not pressing myself. The game has slowed down a lot for me," Beal said. "I'm making the right reads on both ends of the floor. … I'm playing better defense than I did last year."