Bradley Beal has been on a tear to begin the 2020-21 season.
He's been off to a scorching start, averaging a career-high and league-leading 34.9 points per game on career-high shooting percentages from the field (.494) and the free-throw line (.874) through his first 10 games.
He's nearly registering shooting splits of 50-40-90, despite a couple of off-shooting nights.
Bradley Beal is unreal.- Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 12, 2021
Last five games:
34 PTS | 8 REB | 9 AST
41 PTS | 3 REB | 3 AST
60 PTS | 7 REB | 5 AST
27 PTS | 10 REB | 5 AST
31 PTS | 3 REB | 7 AST pic.twitter.com/ERe72NbTM1
Most notably, was Beal's 60-point performance. A career-high and franchise-record-tying showcase that went in vain against the then league-leading Philadelphia 76ers.
In his most recent performance, he nearly recorded his first triple-double of the season in a 128-107 win over the 7-3 Phoenix Suns.
Brad Beal was cookin' (again). 🐼- Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 12, 2021
34 points. 9 assists. 8 rebounds. #WizSuns | @RealDealBeal23 pic.twitter.com/SYKm3SOI4s
Devin Booker led the Suns with 33 and Chris Paul put up 14 points and 11 assists, but with Russell Westbrook not suiting up for this one, Beal led from the front. He scored 13 points in the first quarter, a period where the Wizards outscored the Suns 29-15 - a deficit they would never give up.
He sits among the top 15 as per ESPN's PER (Player Efficiency Rating) and ranks second in efficiency as per NBA.com/stats , but he is nowhere to be seen on the league's top 20 or even the top 40 among the win shares, as per Basketball Reference.
That's because wins have been hard to come by for the Washington Wizards. Through 11 games, they had a record 3-8 despite having an All-Star backcourt in Beal and Westbrook.
The team's win total, midway through last season, was a huge factor in Beal not receiving a selection to the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which would have been his third straight. Will things be different this season?
There's certainly potential.
Last season, the Wizards played with a huge hole at point guard with John Wall yet to recover from his injury. This year, although Westbrook has missed four games early, the team has a healthier and productive All-NBA caliber player at that position to assist Beal in the backcourt. In 2020-21, the team also seems deeper and more well-rounded than last season.
A turnaround in the Wizards season could not only help Beal return to All-Star status, but also possibly his first-ever All-NBA selection.
Can he pull it off? The on/off numbers definitely showcase his impact with the team having a net rating of +1.1 (3rd best) while he's on the floor and -5.0 (2nd best) when he's on the bench.
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