Washington Wizards: Why Bradley Beal Is the Perfect Complement to John Wall

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Washington Wizards: Why Bradley Beal Is the Perfect Complement to John Wall
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Washington Wizards star John Wall may have his religious leanings off the court, but these days, he's spreading a different sort of gospel.

The gospel of Bradley Beal.

Here's what Wall, the soon-to-be-third-year point guard, told Frank Hanrahan of CSNWashington.com on the day of the 2012 NBA draft when the Wizards selected Beal with the No. 3 pick:

He’s a great pick. He’s somebody that can make shots, spread the court for you. I think he can come in and help us a lot. I need guys that can knock down shots, and he’s a consistent knock-down shooter.

Here's Wall again, talking to Matt Breen of The Washington Post the very next day, on what Beal brings to the table:

Especially with me bringing the ball up quick and getting it into the paint, I need guys that can knock down shots. I think he’s a consistent knock down shooter.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

And here's Wall, with Mike Prada of BulletsForever.com, discussing his rookie teammate:

...if you have a consistent knockdown shooter, it's great. Jordan [Crawford] makes shots, but he's more of a scorer, a lead scorer. Bradley's more of a three-point shooter that can do other things for us. But you can have those two guys on the court at the same time together, or you can bring one off the bench. Either way, they'll be a fighter for us.

So, to recap, Bradley Beal can spread the floor for John Wall and company by knocking down perimeter shots, something that the Wizards need...desperately.

They ranked 27th in the NBA in three-point accuracy during each of Wall's first two seasons in DC. That left Wall, a slasher supreme, with little room in which to operate and few options to whom he could comfortably kick the ball out whenever he drove to the basket.

The arrivals of Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, while crucial to the transformation of Washington's locker-room culture, figure to clog the middle and limit Wall's freedom to attack the rim even further. Opposing defenses can simply pack it in and dare the Wizards to shoot, when they'd have just as much trouble landing a beach ball in the Potomac.

That is, unless, Beal gives them reason to respect his range. His three-point shooting numbers at Florida (33.9 percent from beyond the arc) are hardly eye-popping but belie how much he improved as the season went along and how smooth his stroke is, particularly for a 19-year-old kid:

 

Beal's shooting alone won't necessarily be enough to turn John Wall into a superstar and the Wizards into a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference, but it's a solid step in the right direction. Wall could stand to improve his own shooting—41.6 percent from the floor, 23.6 percent from three for his career—as a means of elevating himself and his team within the basketball world:

 

Where Beal doesn't have to be a savior (but can still be of tremendous value), though, is in transition.

The Wizards were third in the NBA in fast-break scoring and second in fast-break efficiency last season, according to TeamRankings.com. Those numbers will likely drop with a revamped roster that features more older, slower players than those seen in the Beltway in recent years.

For his part, Beal should be able to keep DC's transition game afloat. He's a terrific athlete who can get up and down the floor on the break and knows full well how to finish from the wing:

 

With Wall feeding him the ball, the sky's the limit for Beal, be it while attacking the basket on the run or popping out for long-range jumpers.

Likewise, Beal's particular talents will make Wall look that much better—and his life that much easier—during Year 3 of his NBA journey. It's no wonder, then, that Wall's been singing Bradley's praises all summer.

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