Wizards

Why Beal can't help but admire Damian Lillard

Wizards

Bradley Beal is a star in his own right, so he doesn't exactly love showering other NBA players with compliments. When he thinks of his peers, he sees competition.

So, when asked recently for which NBA player he admires, he first bristled at the question. But then he continued and ended up delivering an excellent ode to Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

It's clear Beal can't help but respect his game.

"I don’t know because I’m tough [to impress]. I don’t give a lot of people credit. I’m not in awe of a lot of people," Beal said.

"But I would say a guy who I always respect and admire is Dame. I’ve always liked Dame’s game. I’ve watched him and just his work ethic. He always improves his game every year. Every year he adds something."

Beal went on to give an example of how Lillard has expanded his shooting range and alluded to specific stats from the 2019-20 season. Lillard shot 38.1 percent from 20-to-24 feet, but that number jumped to 40 percent in the 25-to-29 foot range. Lillard shot 39.8 percent from 30-to-34 feet and a ridiculous 66.7 percent from 35-to-39 feet. 

"It just speaks volumes on him putting things into his game," Beal said.

Beal's shooting stacks up favorably to Lillard, but Lillard has long been one of the best guards in the NBA off the dribble. That is an area Beal has studied in particular, and it has shown in his game in recent years.

 

"He’s a magnificent ball-handler, he can get to the basket. He manipulates defenses. I definitely admire Dame and what he does, for sure," Beal said.

One could probably guess the feeling is mutual. Lillard, of course, was on the other end of Beal's 51-point game against the Blazers back on Dec. 5 of 2017.