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By the numbers: Beal's shot distribution takes wrong turn

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By the numbers: Beal's shot distribution takes wrong turn

With John Wall sidelined, Bradley Beal took on more play making responsibility in Game 2. He finished with a team-high seven assists.

But Beal also reverted back to taking more of those often ridiculed long twos and fewer shots from beyond the 3-point arc. 

The Wizards need the full arsenal from their third-year guard in Game 3, especially when he's seeking his own points.

First, a quick stat comparison:

Regular season: 15.3 points, 13.5 field goal attempts (42.7 percent), 4.1 3-point FG attempts (40.9%), 2.6 FT attempts (78.3%)

Playoffs, Games 1-5: 22.2 points, 18.6 FGA (38.7%), 6.4 3pt FGA (34.4%), 7.0 FTA (80.0)

Playoffs, Game 6/Game 2 versus Hawks: 20 points, 8-22 FG (36.4), 2-3 3pt FGA (66.7), 2-3 FTA (66.7)

While his shooting percentages are down in the postseason, the attempts are up. As Washington's best pure shooter, this is a good thing. Aggressive Beal is desired, especially when he's firing from long range or attacking the rim. Send defensive help his way and the floor opens for Paul Pierce and Otto Porter on the wing or Marcin Gortat in the paint, not to mention Wall everywhere. 

Taking a combined 7.7 3-point and free attempts per game as he did during the regular season isn't close to be ideal, especially for a player who shoots a strong to solid* percentage in both areas.

(*Beal has shot between 78.3 and 78.8 from the free throw line in each of his three seasons. That's remarkably consistent and also a bit lower than expected for a player with such textbook shooting form. Not saying he needs to sink 91.4 percent like Stephen Curry, but low 80's seems more than doable. Shoot 82.3 percent on four attempts per game (270 for 328) - which is still a modest number number of free throw tries and three below his average over Games 1-5 -, and Beal boosts his scoring by 3.29 points per game.)

Here's Beal's shooting chart over the first five games of the series:

Now the chart from Game 2 against the Hawks without Wall:

We didn't need the chart to see Beal taking fewer attempts from beyond the arc. As for where he attempted shots, note that the on the first chart the distribution is rather even between left corner/wing and right corner/wing. That generally matches the distribution of attempts during the regular season. For Game 2, Beal was a strictly left-side of the court kind of player. Credit Atlanta's defense*, but also note the absence of Wall, who is a virtuoso at finding his teammates in all angles with daring passes. Ramon Sessions played a quality game, but is ultimately rather basic is a distributor, which leaves Beal to largely fend for himself. 

(*Specifically, credit the defensive effort from Kyle Korver on Beal. According to NBA.com, Korver defended Beal for 9:33 of Game 2. During those minutes, Beal went 1 of 8 from the field for three points, meaning he finished 7 of 15 for 17 points during the other 33-ish minutes he played)

Creating desired shot opportunities off the dribble is the next part of the 21-year-old's scoring evolution. Remaining assertive from all angles - especially from deep and on the drive - is what the Wizards need from Beal in this series.

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Jodie Meeks' season...

Player: Jodie Meeks

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 30

2017-18 salary: $3.3 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.5 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.9 FG%, 34.3 3P%, 86.3 FT%, 49.1 eFG%, 111 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 11/29 at Sixers - 21 points, 4 rebounds, assist, steal, 5-for-11 FG, 3-for-6 3PT, 8-for-9 FT

Season review: The Wizards took a flier on Jodie Meeks last summer in what seemed at the time to be a low-risk contract with a potentially high reward, if he could stay healthy and play to his career norms. They were in obvious need of help at backup shooting guard and three-point shooting for their bench.

Meeks fell short of those expectations for a variety of reasons. Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he could not make shots at the clip the Wizards were hoping for. His field goal percentage was not far off from what he posted in recent years, but his three-point percentage was nowhere near the 38.8 percent he shot in his previous four seasons.

Meeks bottomed out midseason, shooting 28.9 percent from three in December and 28 percent in January. Those numbers ticked up beginning in February, but Meeks never fully gained the trust of his coaching staff. He rarely got hot enough to alter games and his best stat-lines often came in blowouts. 

There was a domino effect from Meeks' struggles, as starting shooting guard Bradley Beal had no one to spell him. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player this season.

For Meeks personally, it was a bittersweet year because staying healthy was no small feat. He had a run of bad luck and finally broke out of it this season. On the other hand, he never made the impact he felt he was capable of and that wasn't easy for a guy joining a new team and a new locker room.

Meeks' 2017-18 season was ultimately defined by more than his shooting woes. First, he expressed interest in a trade in February and did not get his wish. Then, he was suspended for allegedy using performance-enhancing drugs after the regular season ended. He was out for the playoffs and will miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season without pay as he waits out a 25-game ban.

Meeks may or may not serve that suspension as a member of the Wizards. He has a player option for next season worth $3.5 million. He has yet to inform the team of his decision, but the expectation is that he will pick it up. Given how poorly his season went and ended, it would likely be the smart move financially for him to opt in and hope for better results next season.

Potential to improve: Shooting percentage, perimeter defense, passing

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

Tim Frazier, PG

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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