I have to admit, lately I’ve been forgetting to put my nearsighted prescribed glasses on while watching the Wizards play on television.
It’s not that I’m completely bat-blind, but everything becomes a lot more crystal clear with the glasses on.
At the most, I miss a small detail or two that force me to ask a question like, “was that really a foul?” then reminds me that I actually don’t have 20/20 vision, and leads to a scramble to find my spectacles during the next commercial break.
One thing that has been completely obvious though, with or without my glasses, is the fact that Bradley Beal has not been himself as of late.
Shots aren’t falling for the second-year wing-man. Wide-open jumpers and near-bucket attempts alike. His intensity on defense doesn’t show a lack of effort, but his offensive game has struggled.
Over the course of his first two seasons in the NBA, Beal is a 40.6 percent shooter from the field; 40 percent exactly from three.
In Washington’s last 11 games, he has shot the ball 40 percent or better just three times – and only once in their last seven games.
During that 11 game stretch, he shot 35 percent; 34 percent from long range.
While some may point to the fact that Beal has suffered different injuries recently, including a hip pointer, ankle sprain and stiff back in the last two weeks, physical fatigue may be the biggest reason he’s struggling – and getting injured.
In his only season as a Florida Gator in 2011-12, Beal played in 37 games for a total of 1,267 minutes. Last season, as a rookie in the NBA, he played in 56 games and a total of 1,745 minutes for the Wiz. It just happened to be game number 56 for him when he sprained his ankle and aggravated his back against the Orlando Magic on March 14. He had eclipsed the amount of minutes he played last season, in the previous game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
What we’re seeing Beal go through, right now, is his body adjusting to the rigors of an 82 game regular season. He’s slumping right now and what he may need more than any amount of practice is rest. Before the regular season comes to an end, barring any injuries, Beal will have played in 73 games.
The Wizards all but have a playoff spot locked in. If, and when their playoff seed is decided, it would be in head coach Randy Wittman’s best interest to rest Beal in the final games if possible.
That is because during Beal’s struggles, another thing became crystal clear to me – the Wizards are not the same team when John Wall’s back-court mate isn’t playing at the top his game.
If Washington wants to make any noise in the playoffs, they need a healthy and effective Beal to be a part of the noise-making.