The entirety of the Wizards' offense was reshaped during a season-long sample size without All-Star point guard John Wall.
With Washington's focal point recovering from Achilles surgery, they turned to Beal to do everything on offense and rely on players like Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant to help fill the scoring void left by Wall.
That strategy yielded unsurprisingly mixed results. Beal put up career numbers, averaging 30.5 points and 6.1 assists to go along with a 21-game streak of 25-plus point performances, but at times the offense struggled when members of the supporting cast struggled in featured roles or the roster was plagued by injuries.
Once Wall comes back next season, players like Hachimura, Bertans and Bryant will have much more room to operate and the luxury of not having to figure out their roles in the offense on the fly. Former Wizards All-Star Caron Butler joined the Off The Bench podcast and compared his own experiences to what Washington's supporting cast will be treated to next year.
"When you have John and Bradley back, two guys that are perennial All-Stars," Butler said. "And now you see the development of Rui and those guys and what they had to do in spite of [figuring out the offense on the fly], I think that it's going to be wide open for them.
"I remember going to OKC in a Scott Brooks system and playing with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant at the peak of their powers," he said. "I'm on the back end of my career, wasn't able to be mobile. I'm 34-35 years old, and I'm catching the ball and I'm being able to do HORSE shots. I'm finding the seam in the basketball where I'm able to take my time and just follow through and make shots and shot a high percentage, the highest percentage of my career."
Butler experienced a career renaissance with the thunder in 2014. In just 22 games with the team after he was acquired from Milwaukee, Butler shot 44.1 percent (45-102) from three. Butler averaged 9.7 points during Durant's MVP season and helped the Thunder reach the Western Conference Finals, only to lose in six games to the eventual champion Spurs.
It's hard to expect Wall or Beal to play to the same level as Durant did in 2014 because, well, few humans have in the history of the game. Though Beal won't be the only player who will get much less attention from opposing defenses when Wall returns. Washington's supporting cast should see an uptick in efficiency with an increased volume of open looks around the floor.
"This is going to be a fun group of guys that has the luxury of having a lot of time," he said. "A one-one thousand, a two-one thousand, a three-one thousand before you have to be rushed off into making a play, so I think it's going to be fun to watch."
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