With a little under two months until the start of the 2015-2016 NBA season the Washington Wizards find themselves in a bit of a tricky situation, as fourth year guard Bradley Beal has reportedly been seeking a max contract. While under normal circumstances I believe the Wizards would ultimately give Beal the max, the Wizards would like to curve out some space to offer Kevin Durant a deal next summer when he becomes a free agent. The Wizards are in no rush to get a deal done with Beal and honestly, he shouldn’t be in a rush to get the deal done either. As it would make Beal eligible for a five-year contract from the Wizards.
Given Beal’s injury history, he may be getting advised not to wait and get paid now. The decision to wait or not falls on the Wizards and Beal and it will play out with time, the more intriguing question, does Bradley Beal deserve the max?
Beal has been considered one of the better young shooting guards in the NBA for quite some time now and while this description may be true, Beal is far from a finished product in this league. Everyone is well aware of Bradley Beal’s biggest strength, his shooting. He is blessed with an absolutely gorgeous jump shot and has established himself as one of the best three point shooters in the league. His shooting is extremely important to this Wizards team, his reputation as a shooter attracts a lot of attention by opposing defenses, which opens up things for John Wall and company. Bradley is also very good finisher around the rim converting 64% of his shots.
One of Beal’s problems is his habit to settle for the long two instead of stepping back and attempting three pointers, he converted the long ball last season at a 40% clip compared to the 33% on long twos. Beal’s assumed love for long twos keeps him from being an efficient score in this league. This is something that has frustrated fans for three seasons now and it’s likely going to continue moving forward in Beal’s career.
One of the best attributes he brings to this Wizards team is ball handling. Brad is the Wizards secondary ball handler and he’s able to slide over to primary ball handler whenever John Wall isn’t on the floor with him. This is extremely important to the Wizards as they lack in ball handlers who can create. This is something he has improved tremendously since coming into the league. Defensively, Beal is a player that has been taking major strides to be a good defender. Beal posses a very strong frame and quick feet which enable him to be a fairly good defender for his position.
Even if Beal isn’t a max player at this point, he is likely the Wizards second most important player behind John Wall. His shooting and ball handling brings such value to the Wizards and everything they want to do. At 22 years-old, it’s very likely that Beal is only scratching the surface on the kind of player he can be.
The only downside to giving Beal a max deal is his injury history , he has suffered from nagging ankle and knee injuries over his career. While it should cause the Wizards some concern, it shouldn’t keep the Wizards from handing him a max. In my opinion, Bradley Beal is a max player for the Washington Wizards.