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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Bradley Beal's season...

Player: Bradley Beal

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 24

2016-17 stats: 77 G, 34.9 mpg, 23.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg, 48.2 FG%, 40.4 3P%, 82.5 FT%, 56.6 eFG%, 117 ORtg, 112 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Last year represented a breakthrough for Beal for a variety of reasons. Not only did he have his best season from a statistical standpoint, scoring more points and more efficiently than ever, he set a new career mark for games played. Beal only missed five games after being absent for 27 games the year before and 19 games the year before that. For years the knock on Beal was that he couldn't stay healthy, but Beal proved to himself and everyone else that his body can hold up and allow him to play the game the way he knows he can.

It would be understandable if an extra level of confidence comes from that. Beal has a full, healthy season under his belt where he put up numbers worthy of an All-Star nod. Now knowing he can stay healthy, perhaps Beal can be even more aggressive on both ends of the floor. We saw some of that last year with Beal attacking the rim like he hadn't before. Expect his growth in being able to get to the rack to continue.

Beal made significant strides last season with his ball-handling, which helped him get to the rim and, in turn, the free throw line more often. Another offseason of working on his handle could help Beal (4.4 FTA/g) get on John Wall's level (6.8 FTA/g) of drawing fouls. It would also continue to open up the floor for his three-point shot. 

Beal's development as a ball-handler is something head coach Scott Brooks is very excited about. Last season he used Beal sparingly as a point guard, granted sometimes out of necessity. This year, expect Brooks to deploy Beal more often in pick-and-rolls and as the floor general with Wall off the floor. Beal is becoming more and more versatile on both ends of the floor and it will only make the Wizards even harder to deal with.

If Beal has a year similar to 2016-17, he should be in good shape to make the All-Star team. His numbers were good enough last season and now several superstar wing players have left for the Western Conference.

Potential to improve: Ball-handling, passing, drawing fouls.

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 33 - Sneaker special... it's all about the kicks

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CSN

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 33 - Sneaker special... it's all about the kicks

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast, we focused entirely on sneakers and how they intersect with the culture of basketball. Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by CSN producers (and sneakerheads) Ajay Atayee and Terrence Stroder in studio.

The four of them brought on two expert guests on the phone. First was Cool Kicks sneaker store owner Daniel Habtemariam. Second was Michael Sykes, a blogger at SB Nation.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: Keef and Dolph: an odd couple friendship within the Wizards' organization]

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Jason Smith's season...

Player: Jason Smith

Position: Power forward/center

Age: 31

2016-17 stats: 74 G, 14.4 mpg, 5.7 ppg, 0.3 apg, 3.5 rpg, 0.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 52.9 FG%, 47.4 3P%, 68.6 FT%, 58.5 eFG%, 110 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Smith's first season in Washington didn't get off to a great start, much like the team as a whole. He was among several players struggling on the Wizards' bench early on, shooting just 36.7 percent from the field in 11.8 minutes a night through 16 games. Smith ultimately found his niche despite inconsistent minutes as a key player on the bench with Ian Mahinmi out most of the year due to injury.

Smith made his impact as an energy guy off the bench. At his best, he disrupted shots in the lane and spread the floor with an improving three-point shot. Smith hit two threes in October, November and December. From January on, Smith made 35 of them at a 46.7 percent clip. By March he was knocking down multiple threes per night on a regular basis.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

Smith's emergence as a three-point threat was unexpected, as it happened in his Age 30 season. But it wasn't just luck and it didn't happen overnight. For years Smith practice threes and he had already developed into a solid midrange shooter. It was last year that his range extended beyond the three-point line.

Whether the Wizards can count on Smith to hit threes at a high rate this season is unclear, but that versatility is what could help him remain in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation. If Mahinmi can stay healthy, that will likely mean less minutes for Smith. But if Smith can spread the floor, he can be a nice complement to Mahinmi or Marcin Gortat as a stretch-4.

For as much continuity as there will be in the Wizards' starting lineup, their bench has many new faces. That group also includes Mahinmi, who played only 31 games last year. Smith have a full season in Brooks' system will help him hit the ground running this season in a second unit that will require an adjustment period.

Potential to improve: Chemistry with other bigs, free throw shooting, rim protection.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES