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Wizards anxiously await first breakout game from Bradley Beal

Wizards anxiously await first breakout game from Bradley Beal

The start of the season hasn't been exactly what Bradley Beal was anticipating, coming off a summer in which the Wizards made him a $128 million max player. His team is 0-3 going into tonight vs. the Atlanta Hawks (CSN, 6:30 p.m. ET). 

Beal is shooting 38.1% from the field, 28.6% from three for 14 points, 2.3 assists and 1.3 rebounds. He's only getting up 14 shots per game which has to be about six fewer than he should take as the best shooter on the team.

RELATED: WIZARDS VS. HAWKS: TV, LIVE STREAM AND RADIO INFO, THINGS TO WATCH

"My job is to try to get him as many easy shots as possible," point guard John Wall said, looking back at Wednesday's 113-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors and ahead to their next home game. "A couple times he turned down some shots to make extra passes. I’m used to him taking those kind of shots. I told him to be aggressive. Most of the time me and him are probably going to take 20 shots a game. For us both to be successful, we both have to be aggressive. Also when teams are double teaming us or trying to collapse on us we have to make the right reads and right plays. I think he’s been able to do that. He’s missing a couple of easy shots that he’s used to making. What kind of helps with that is getting to the free throw line and getting easy baskets."

Beal is only taking three free throws per game. When the Wizards lost the season-opener in Atlanta, the excuse for Beal's performance was obvious: He was in foul trouble. But he hasn't been able to shake free long enough to get his shot. And when Beal does get the ball against elite defenders such as Atlanta's Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha, he has to work incredibly hard to find open space.

What are teams doing?

  •  The Wizards screen heavily for Beal, but defenses are switching 1-4. As a result, Beal isn't getting the real estate.

What can Beal do?

  • Attack dribble immediately when any big switches onto him. He showed it in a preseason game vs. the New York Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis ended up in that position and got the blow by for the and-1 (15 seconds into this highlight package). 

What is Beal not doing?

  • Go back to the fourth quarter of the last game. He's mostly stationary and not always making himself available and in one instance he passed up a short corner three to Markieff Morris, who isn't as good a shooter, for a deeper one at a tougher angle.

What can coach Scott Brooks do? 

  • It's a good idea to get the best shooter on the team into some flex action. Set cross screens, ideally with another shooter (Otto Porter, maybe?), on the weak side of the floor and have Beal pop to the top of a pindown to create room and generate more mismatches. In the opener with the Hawks, Beal set just one screen and that was on an out-of-bounds play and it freed Andrew Nicholson for a layup. In the pivotal fourth vs. Toronto, Beal didn't set any. His pre-catch activity needs to be higher. The best shooters in the league (Kyle Korver of the Hawks is one) do this a lot. 

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!