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For two seasons, Bradley Beal’s future has been in question with the Washington Wizards. Beal has made it clear that his departure from the fledgling franchise isn’t happening anytime soon.
Beal averages 32.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assist per game. With good pieces in place, the coaching staff need to install a system around Beal’s talent and strengths.
The Wizards (10-17) have the 4th-worst record in the NBA and looking for an answer to there woes.
They have posted good wins over elite teams such as the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets (twice). Beal was a big part of that averaging 31.0 points 4.0 rebounds and 6.0 assist in those games alone.
The potential of the Wizards is evidenced by the great wins but it also highlights Beal’s ability to step up to the plate in other areas of the box score.
Take the six assists for example. This shows that he can change his game and play any style it takes to win. This can be a catalyst to correct one of the team’s most glaring issues.
The Wizards’ inability to score in the paint, ranking No.18 in the NBA, has been a problem for them all season. Being effective in the paint has to be a priority to get the offense going.
One way to do that is by utilizing Beal’s ability to shoot the ball from the three-point line as a lynchpin for the offensive scheme.
Over the last four seasons, Beal has shot it very well from deep (36%). Washington can take advantage of the pin-downs with Rui Hachimura or Dāvis Bertāns that free up opportunities for him to get open shots as well as pass it for looks at the basket.
Using Beal as a facilitator is also not out of the question. The Florida alumni’s passing may be his most underrated skill. He can set up other players when he is asked to, allowing him to play in a role similar to James Harden in Houston, which wouldn’t be too far of a reach for Scott Brooks.
Running a pseudo small-ball lineup of Beal, Russell Westbrook, Hachimura, Bertāns and Robin Lopez gives enough shooting and athleticism to highlight his passing. This also takes Westbrook off the ball as well and allows Beal to iso when needed.
Westbrook is averaging 19.3 points 9.5 rebounds and 9.7 assist this season while posting just around 31% usage rating. Even though he is posting great numbers, his turnover woes are still present. The former MVP is averaging 5.1 turnovers a game (highest since 2016-17) and a 19.7 turnover percentage, which is the highest of his career.
By putting Westbrook into more of a slashing wing role, it cuts down on him turning the ball over. They could work off each other like Scotty Brook used Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the Oklahoma City Thunder days. At his core, Westbrook is an excellent slasher and Beal in iso situations draws the attention of any defense, opening up lanes for Westbrook to thrive.
The Wizards would boast a potent scoring-passing backcourt with shooters around them. Westbrook, being a drive-and-kick facilitator ah-la Lebron James, will open up Beal for easy points. That can also can be coupled into a two-man game, using Beal’s sneaky ability to cut back door while Westbrook is attacking.
The Wizards can make a lot of noise with Beal being their cornerstone star. Its going to be a work-in progress but they have the pieces to make a quick turnaround. Starting the second half of the season with a more Beal-centric scheme, it may just be the magic the Wizards are looking for.