Bradley Beal looked awfully good when his ankle allowed him to. In 56 games as a rookie, Beal averaged 13.9 points on 38.6 shooting from three. He flashed all sorts of upside, acing the eye test from both a physical and fundamental standpoint.
Beal has it in him to become a go-to scoring weapon for Washington. That's why it drafted him so high despite just average production at Florida—Beal's ceiling reaches All-Star heights.
A terrific athlete with an NBA body, Beal has the tools shared by some of the top 2-guards in the game. And with a little more polish and refinement, there's no question he could emerge as the next one.
Knocking Down Contested Shots
And Beal is a shot-maker. He can knock them down off the catch, off the dribble and off-balance. But it's a lot tougher to hit those shots when you're blanketed by Thabo Sefolosha.
Beal is going to be guarded by a number of lockdown defenders. If he wants to be an every-night volume scorer, he'll have to be able to hit shots with defenders in his grill.
Scoring in the Lane
Beal was fairly efficient as a scorer in the lane, but he didn't get there very often. Beal only made 89 shots in the paint all season, compared to 190 he made outside the paint, according to Vorped. That's a ratio that screams inconsistency. Relying too heavily on jump-shooting is going to make it hard to produce big numbers every night.
To put Beal's numbers into perspective, Wade made more than twice as many shots in the paint as he did outside it. Harden was also more productive in the lane than out.
Beal will have to get better attacking off the dribble and scoring on the move. Shooting guards like Harden and Wade pick up a number of buckets each game by weaving through traffic and slicing through the lane.
The fact that Beal only averaged 2.8 free-throw attempts a game illustrates his tendency to settle on the perimeter. He's a 78 percent shooter from the stripe. This is a place he needs to visit more often.
Beal looks sharp elevating straight up and down, but he'll need to become a bigger threat attacking and scoring in the lane.
Improve Shot, Dribble Creativity
Beal has a refined shot selection—most of his shots are balanced, whether he's spotting up or pulling up off the dribble.
But moving forward, Beal should look to get a little more creative, both with his dribble and shot selection.
Whether it's a crossover into a step-back or a turnaround jumper, Beal will make himself tougher to guard with a more diverse offensive arsenal.
Adding a post game would give him a new avenue to explore for points. There's not much a defender can do against an over-the-shoulder fadeaway.
Beal will want to develop some specialty shots—that way he's not forced to rely on screens, plays or defensive lapses to get open looks.
Develop Go-To Mindset
He has to develop that cold-blooded killer instinct you see from all the top-scoring guards. Beal must establish himself as the go-to guy in the lineup—particularly in the fourth quarter.
Now a sophomore, he should finish top two on the team in field goals attempted in each game the Wizards play.
Beal has already shown he can play in crunch time, after his buzzer-beating jumper that sunk the OKC Thunder:
He's got the physical tools and the talent, and Beal appears to have the IQ.
By showing he can create and make shots under pressure, improve his off-the-dribble game and embrace the role of a No. 1 scorer, Beal could become the NBA's next star guard.