Bradley Beal's Season Highlights
Bradley Beal worked tirelessly in the summer of 2016 to get his body and game ready for his fifth NBA season. After signing a long-term contract before the offseason, Beal knew expectations would be higher for him entering the 2016-17 season.
His preparation and his determination to stay healthy led to a career season. Beal scored 23.1 points per game, up 5.7 points per game from his previous career-high. He would end the season shooting career-highs 48.2% from the field and 82.5% from the free throw line, as well as 40.4% from 3-point, his second-best 3-point clip of his career. Beal joined Kevin Durant and Vince Carter to be one of three players in NBA history 23 years old or younger to average 23.0 points or better and shoot above 40 percent from 3-point range.
Beal also elevated his playmaking in 2016-17, increasing his assists per game to a career-high 3.5 while continuing to control the ball with only two turnovers per game. His 3-point shooting was still elite, as he set the franchise single-season 3-pointer record by making 223 triples in the season, passing Gilbert Arenas’ mark of 205 (done twice, 2004-05 and 2006-07). Beal was one of 11 Washington players in team history to have four 40+ point efforts in a season, the first since Arenas had nine in 2006-07. He was one of 12 players this season to have four 40+ point efforts (one of four in the East). He had 52 games of 20+ points this season, the most he has had in his career (22 in 2013-14 and 2015-16).
The Panda not only became an elite shooter but also one of the East’s top scorers, finishing tied for eighth with John Wall in the East at 23.1 points per game. Beal continued to grow his midrange and 3-point shooting game, but also demonstrated an impressive bounce when he put the ball on the floor. He became a solid finisher around the rim and a creative scorer when his team needed him most.
The jump Beal took offensively overshadowed his improved defense, often taking on the opponent’s top scoring guard. Scott Brooks has publicly said multiple times this season that he believes Beal is one of the top two-way players in the NBA, which was on display in the postseason. Beal was tasked with defending Isaiah Thomas much of the Celtics series and shut down Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Hawks season. The numbers can only tell us so much about defense, but Beal undoubtedly got better defensively as the season went on.
Beal, who turns 24 at the end of June, still has plenty of room to grow in his game, and he knows it. He plans to work on all facets of his game over the summer, sticking with his offseason plan that prepared him for his fifth NBA season. With Beal still young and developing, the Wizards could not be more excited to see the Panda alongside John Wall in the backcourt for many years to come.