Among the better ways for the Wizards to get their best shooter open shots, meaning Bradley Beal, is to have him doing what so many others do for him. Set screens.
After his 42-point outburst in Monday's win over the Phoenix Suns to set a career-high, Beal was as active as he has been all season in flex action -- screening for screener on the weakside of the floor. A lot of times when the shooting guard is stagnant, being stationary, he'll become forgotten in the offense. That also makes him easier to take away for the defense.
More recently, including his 34 points in a loss to the Miami Heat over the weekend, Beal taken it upon himself to be more involved in the offense even if he's being a decoy.
"Whenever I have a chance to screen somebody, cause a switch or cause confusion, I do," said Beal on Tuesday after practice. "It's just a natural play. Just playing basketball. Playing free. Guards sets screens too and it confuses teams. Some teams switch. Some teams don't. That's where a lot of miscommunication comes in too, when there's a guard-on-guard screen or a guard-on-big screen. I utilize it. Utilize my body. I'm not afraid of hitting anybody."
Devin Booker led the Suns with 30 points. Part of why he has flourished in his second NBA season is he'll screen for their big man, Alex Len. It's not a play design. Booker does it voluntarily to create movement. Beal has more freedom in Scott Brooks' offense is starting to do more of that, too.
He set screens for John Wall only to reverse his way off a cut back to the ball as Marcin Gortat responded by screening for him. When a defense has to make decisions on who to chase and with whom is where breakdowns occur that can produce higher-percentage shots.
Brooks lauded the screening of Gortat contributing to Beal's breakout game Monday. Like Beal, Gortat made a lot of correct reads as they freestyled on offense. When the big opposing big man defending Gortat (Alan Williams) sank too deep on the pick-and-roll with Beal, effectively taking away the dive to the basket for Gortat, they'd start over. Beal would back off and allow Gortat to reset the screen. Then when Beal would run the pick-and-roll he had more room to operate as he settles in that pocket between the two defenders for an open jumper or just attack the rim.
"When that happens, we just tell March to hold his screen a little bit longer. Hold our guy a while espeically if they're all the way in the paint," Beal said. "It gives us the opportunity to attack the big one-on-one and if we do miss he's there to follow up on the guard with a rebound. We definitely try to do that, especially on pindowns."