Entering the 2013-14 NBA season, the Washington Wizards didn’t figure to be much of a contender. Almost a month into year four of the John Wall era, the painful reality remains—the Wizards simply aren’t there yet.
Though they’ve assembled a good mix of young and veteran talent, bolstered by the addition of former Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat, Washington sits at 5-8 and is still having trouble breaking the threshold of becoming a .500 team at the least.
One bright spot for the Wizkids is the emergence of second-year shooting guard Bradley Beal. It is so critical that the former first-round pick continues his hot start to 2013-14 in order to provide some support to the much-leaned-upon Wall.
Almost one-sixth of the way through the season, the former Florida Gator is averaging a career-high 20.6 points per game—up from 13.9 points per game last year. The arrival of Beal as a reliable offensive threat has not only boosted the Wizards’ ability to score, but their ability to share the ball as well. Wall is averaging a career-high 8.9 assists a game, due in large part to his ability to have a steadfast shooter to dish to on the outside when he drives. (Stats via NBA.com).
Beal has already become a major contributor to his team in a short period of time, and he is well on his way to becoming an All-Star.
To display just how much of a difference his scoring makes, one needs not look any further than the team’s offensive output. The Wizards are averaging 99.1 points per game, the most of any Wizards team since the 2006-07 season—via Espn.go.com.
Additionally, Beal is averaging more points than any Wizards starting shooting guard since Caron Butler averaged 20.8 points per game in 2008-09—via Espn.go.com.
It should be taken into account that Beal’s numbers are a small serving size. However, they’re a spark of optimism for Wizards fans that have suffered for the better part of the 21st century. If Beal’s numbers remain consistent for the Wizards moving forward, then the much-beleaguered franchise has found an integral cog to fit into a once-broken machine that’s speeding up ever so slightly.
Will Grooms is a student in the B/R sports media program. You can find more of his work at Collegiate Times and follow him on Twitter at w_grooms94.