It's always difficult to determine how much of what happens in the preseason will carry over when games count, but Bradley Beal has made a concerted effort to be more attack-minded in his approach for the Wizards.
Has he developed new habits that'll last an 82-game season or will he inevitably revert to old ones when he's in a pinch?
In Monday's 90-88 loss to the New York Knicks, Beal had 17 points but it was how he scored that causes optimism going into his fifth season.
He had the 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis and the 6-11 Guillermo Hernangomez defending him on switches, spread the floor and blew by them to the basket. When he had the undersized Brandon Jennings defending him on the inbounds play, he posted him up to receive the entry pass in the paint and attacked him there.
"I have to view it as disrespect," Beal said of having bigs attempting to guard him at the arc. "I have to take advantage of it if I want to be an elite guard. … A few times I overdribbled when I could’ve taken a shot."
John Wall played his first exhibition game and started in the backcourt with Beal. His presence had a positive impact for Beal, too.
"Now you've got to pick your poison, who you’re keying on, what coverage you want to run or who you want to double," Beal said. "It just makes us more open, more comfortable to have a guy out there who’s a threat at all times."
Coach Scott Brooks wants to see Beal, who signed a five-year, $128 million max contract this summer, reach an All-Star level.
"He has an incredible jump shot. He’s been working the last couple years on his handle. That’s really improving," Brooks said. "That’s the next evolution of the player he wants to be and that we want him to be. To continue to be an attack player. When the jump shot is not falling you got to rely on taking it to the basket and getting to the free throw line."
In 26 minutes, Beal shot 6 of 14 from the field, made 2 of 5 threes and was 3 of 3 from the foul line.
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