Wizards like how Gortat will fit into lineup
Over the next couple of days, the Wizards will stun absolutely nobody when they formally announce picking up the third-year option on Bradley Beal's contract.
Not that preseason action had any bearing on such financial matters, but who wouldn't want to fork over more coin after the stupendous seven-game Beal just delivered?
Building upon his impressive rookie campaign, the second-year guard averaged 20.7 points. For some league-wide context, that equaled Derrick Rose. Only Kevin Durant (22.3) averaged more. Yes, that's some All-Star caliber company for the 20-year-old, whose efficiency is beyond his years. Beal shot 51.9 percent from the field, 47.2 (17 of 36) from beyond the 3-point arc and 80 percent on his free throw attempts.
"That was big, really great for him to get that type of confidence," John Wall said of Beal's preseason.
Even the humble Beal couldn't deny he rocked.
"I think I did pretty well," he said on Friday. "I can still do better, a lot better on both ends of the floor, but I definitely can't complain. I shot the ball well, created off the dribble well for myself and teammates. Hopefully, I can continue that throughout the season."
If he does, Beal should be joining Durant and Rose in New Orleans for the 2014 All Star game.
According to the basketball website Hoopshype, Beal will earn $4.5 million during the 2014-15 season. His $4.3 million for the upcoming season ranks sixth on the team.
During the initial stages of Beal's first season, heavy confidence isn't something he always possessed. That was then.
"Tremendous growth, " forward Trevor Booker said. "His rookie year, he used to get down on himself when he missed shots. Now he's just super confident. You can just see it on the court."
Wall received a sneak preview of what was to come since the Wizards starting backcourt worked out together throughout the preseason.
"Just seeing him this summer working out and being here with the team. That's what he really worked on is coming off down screens, being more aggressive, making plays off the dribble. I think that's what he feels more comfortable with and it makes the job easier for us," said the appreciative point guard.
During those summer sessions, the pair would engage in shooting contests. Sometimes Wall triumphed. He knew not to take the victory lightly.
"Yeah, that's big for me," said a grinning Wall. "He's a shooter. I do want to win those types of games."
Savor the flavor. Beal won't lose many shooting battles going forward. The Wizards are happily banking on it.