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Beal's opening night showed improved shot attempt formula


Beal's opening night showed improved shot attempt formula

Shoot 3-pointers and layups and free throws while avoiding those dreaded "long 2's." That's the modern plan for NBA offenses these days, especially elite perimeter players. Wizards guard Bradley Beal guard didn't always follow the desired script last season or really in any of his first three seasons. If the opening game of the 2015-16 campaign proves part of a new pattern, Washington's starting wing guard is on board.

No doubt one game epitomize small sample size. Even Friday's game at the Milwaukee Bucks won't help much; we probably need to wait at least 10-15 games for any real sense and even we'd be best to wait a bit more. In terms of the attempts from various locations, Beal's start is promising.

Critics constantly attacked the Wizards' penchant for taking those dreaded "long 2's" last year, otherwise known as shots inside the 3-point arc. Shoot from a few feet back and a basket equals three points instead of two. Simple enough. The thing is Washington didn't have enough of those long ball shooters in the rotation which made the desire for them to shoot more off base at times. However, wanting the sweet-shooting Beal taking more 3's made all the sense.

RELATED: What's holding up Jared Dudley's debut with Wizards? He explains

In 61 games, he attempted a career-low 4.1 shots from beyond the arc. (That works out to 30.4% of his overall attempts). He's never launched more than 4.7 3-pointers during any season. Golden State's Klay Thompson, a wing threat often compared with Beal, tried 7.1 per game last season -- 41 percent of his overall shots -- and 6.1 for his career.

Beal took eight 3-pointers in Wednesday's season opening win at Orlando. That's more than he took in 59 of his 63 regular season games last season. Beal took at least eight 3-pointers in three of 10 playoff games. For now ignore that Beal, a career 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc, missed six of those eight attempts Wednesday. Getting up six or more per game should be the goal.

As for those long 2's, work with me on some crude distance numbers here. Beal took five shots between 16 feet and the 3-point arc against the Magic according to NBA.com or 26.3 percent of his overall attempts.

Of his 851 field goal attempts taken during the 2014-15 regular season, 238 (27.9%) were from 16-24 feet. 

Beal's four layup attempts/shots in the restricted area, in terms of percentage of overall attempt, were slightly down compared to last season (21.0 v. 22.7). However, the 6-foot-4 guard made all four attempts and showed intriguing craftiness including a Steve Nash-ian overhead reverse hook. Beal's dribble-drive game hasn't been his strength so showing improvement there certainly counts as encouraging.

So does his seven free throw attempts. Only six times in 63 regular season games last season did he attempt at least seven. Beal has never averaged more than 2.8 attempts in any of his three NBA seasons. However, Beal does his best overall work in the postseason and he attempted 5.9 in two rounds last year.

Now, it's frustrating that a player with his shooting touch is "only" a 78.3 percent shooter from the free throw line (Thompson sinks 85%). He wasn't even that good Wednesday (4 of 7), though we'll chalk some of the misses to first game fatigue in Washington's new pace-and-space offense.

If Beal can keep up the attempts, get the percentage over 80 while staying aggressive shooting from deep, look out. By the way, his 24 points Wednesday were more than he scored in 59 of 63 games last season. 

MORE WIZARDS: Morning tip: Gortat sees maturation of Wall and Beal

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.


The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.


Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 



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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result: