Bradley Beal Talks Wizards Playoffs, Playing with John Wall and More
Following Friday night's NBA Rising Stars Challenge, Bradley Beal finished 2-0 during his appearances in the game—and rightfully so, as Beal is one of the up-and-coming shooting guards in the NBA.
Beal can knock down threes with the best of them (as he showed in Saturday night's three-point contest) and, together with John Wall, makes up one of the best young backcourts in the league.
The 20-year-old is hoping to graduate to the main All-Star Game next season, and he's well on his way, averaging 17.1 points per game on 43 percent three-point shooting.
Beal took time out of his busy All-Star weekend schedule to participate in a Google+ Hangout sponsored by Fanlime and hosted by A.J. Hawk, a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
I got a chance to ask Beal some questions during the hangout (a full video of which can be seen here) as well as in a one-on-one interview following the hangout.
On His Runner-Up Performance in the Three-Point Contest
Asked by Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk: How do you feel about the three-point contest?
It was exciting. Honestly, at first I was sketchy about doing the whole thing.
I didn't want to go out there and make no shots and be like the worst three-point shooter ever. But at the end of the day, it was still fun.
Just being out there and knocking down some shots, I just went out there and had fun with it and made a few shots.
How He's Improved Since His Rookie Year
What has this year been like compared to your rookie year?
What are some of the things you've learned?
I think the biggest thing is my confidence level and my comfort level.
What I learned on the court is that I have to be aggressive on both ends of the floor.
And my leadership has improved. I'm more vocal this year than I was last year—getting guys going and holding each other accountable.
I'm not afraid to be put in that role, and that's the role the team wants me in.
Regarding His Improved Three-Point Percentage
Your three-point percentage has really gone up this year compared to your rookie season.
Is that something you worked on in the offseason, or is it that you're just starting to find your shot in the NBA now?
A little bit of both. You always have to work on that shot. Your game is never perfect. I would think my comfort level of shooting out there is a lot better.
I think last year I was really adjusting to the line out there. People don't realize how far it is from the hoop.
It's a long ways. So from this year to last year, it's just confidence, and I'm ready to go out there and knock it down.
On What the Wizards Can Improve On
What do you think you personally and the team can improve on in the second half of the season?
Individually, I just want to get better.
On offense, I need to shoot the ball with confidence and get my teammates involved.
As long as we continue to play defense and move the ball on offense, we have a good chance against anybody.
The biggest thing we need to do as a team is finish wins. There's times where we make a lot of mistakes and have some mishaps that cost us games.
We can't play the fourth quarter like we do the first quarter, so we definitely need to be more intense [in the fourth].
The Wizards' Playoff Chances
It looks like the Washington Wizards are going to be a playoff team at this point in the season.
But without getting too far ahead of yourselves, what would you say the team's mindset is at this point with just 30 games left?
We're more than certain we'll be a playoff team.
Now we just are worried about seeding. We know we need to win games so that we can get to the third seed.
Regarding His Minutes Restriction Earlier in the Season
For about a month or so, coach Randy Wittman had you on a minutes restriction of 30 minutes per game.
What was it like to be on that restriction while your teammates were out playing, especially in the fourth quarter?
I didn't like it, but it was better for me to not play.
In the time I was out there, I had to give the team what I had.
But we were still winning games, so I had to be fine with it.
There's times when I couldn't get in a rhythm because I was sitting, but it was for the good of the team, and as long as we were winning, I was fine.
On What It's Like to Play with John Wall
Obviously, we can't talk about Wizards basketball without talking about John Wall.
What's it like to play with him? Do you think he makes you a better player on the court?
He definitely does. ... We're going to continue to grow together.
He makes everybody's lives so much easier on the court. Honestly, if you can run with him in transition, you'll be fine.
He can find you in the corner to shoot a three, or somehow he gets it done. You can be at half court, and he'll beat you down to the baseline and shoot a layup.
That's just how fast and terrific he is.
How Far He and Wall Can Take the Wizards
What excites you most when envisioning the future with you and John Wall as the Wizards backcourt?
We think we can be the best team in the NBA.
As long we continue in the future, I think we can get there.
We challenge each other every day. During the summer, we play one-on-one a lot, and we both have that passion and will to win.
Having a point guard like [Wall] who can improve your game is terrific. Our future is very bright.
On What Marcin Gortat Has Brought to the Team
What has Marcin Gortat brought to the team this season?
He was the biggest offseason acquisition for the Wizards, but it happened just days before the start of the season.
He's been terrific.
I am so happy we picked him up.
As you said, he is a great defender. He blocks shots and will take the challenge to guard the other team's best big.
He has our backs and we have his, and it's great to know we have a big who has your back and will go to battle with you.
How He and the Rest of the Team Have Tried to Help Otto Porter
Otto Porter Jr. has struggled so far this season with just getting into a rhythm.
He lost a good chunk of his offseason with an injury, and since then, he's kind of just been off.
Coming off your rookie season, has there been any advice you can give him given that you dealt with injuries?
And what do you see happening with Porter for the rest of this season?
It's not like his game has slipped away.
Otto is in a position where he has Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster in front of him, but he's not getting down on himself at all.
He's one of the first guys in and is one of the last to leave the facility on a daily basis. He competes, but it's unfortunate that he started off the year with an injury, but he still works hard.