After a sensational sophomore season in 2013-14, the Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal were on pace to one of the NBA’s best. Now done with his fourth year in the league, Beal wants to stay as a member of the Wizards while being paid max money.
“I want to be valued the right way,” Beal said to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. “I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for. If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure
“I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for. If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that they probably won’t (let me go). At the end of the day, that’s where I want to be. I think a deal will probably get done but you just never know.
Where he stands right now as a player, Beal is in no position to make max-contract money. He has all the tools to be in that discussion in a year or two, but his game hasn’t elevated since his breakout second season.
Obviously, Beal has injury issues. That’s something that needs to be taken into account even though he doesn’t have much control over that. He’s appeared in just 247 out of a possible 328 games as a pro, and hasn’t played in more than 73 in a season — that came in 2013, so it’s evident that he can put up decent numbers over extended time.
He can shoot that ball at a high level, has superb athleticism, and has slowly added a mid-range game to his arsenal. According to Basketball-Reference, Beal shot 45% on shots between 3-10 feet, and 40.5% on shots between 10-16 feet in the 55 games he played in, so the proof is in the pudding. He may have a solid in-between game and outside game, but Beal has some demons when he’s at the foul line. This past year, he finished at 77% — which isn’t terrible, but he only attempted a shade over three free throws a game. The max-contract level two-guards (James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler) get to the line more frequently and convert between 82-86% of their foul shots.
For Beal to approach max contract salary, his next season will need to feature a stat line close to 24 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game while maintaining (improving, actually) his shooting consistency. Furthermore, both him and Washington will need to find a way to become more efficient. Since entering the league, Beal’s offensive rating per 100 possessions has always been lower than his defense and has never eclipsed 103; on defense, it’s lowest was 105.
Really, the only thing between Bradley Beal and a max contract is his track record with injuries. If he plays anywhere from 77-82 games next year and shows an all-around improvement, he’ll be in great position for a max-deal.