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
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.
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