Remember when the Wizards questionably gave Bradley Beal a max contract? Well, he’s showing he might be worth it.
3DeMar DeRozan – 31 Points, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists
After his incredible start to the season, DeRozan cooled off for a bit before igniting yet again. His 31 against the Orlando Magic marked his fourth-straight game with 30-plus, and he’s averaging 31.5 on 60.5 percent shooting from the field over that stretch.
What was odd about his outing in Orlando was that DeRozan attempted just four free throws and took 21 shots from the field. He was efficient nonetheless. Shooting a ton of mid-range jumpers was the method of choice, and DeRozan seemed a little passive on his drives to the basket. Unfortunately for the Magic, his shot from beyond 15 feet is as automatic as it gets.
When it was all said and done, DeRozan dropped his 31 in just 30 minutes, and Dwane Casey kept him out of the fourth quarter entirely.
2Joel Embiid – 33 Points, 10 Rebounds, 3 Blocks
Night in and night out, JoJo doesn’t cease to impress. His 33 points set a career-high, and he did so on 12-of-17 shooting which included 2-of-3 from the three-point line. Embiid showed poise in the post when working against the Brooklyn Nets‘ Brook Lopez, who’s no pushover on the block.
His footwork was phenomenal, and it’s a shame he played less than 28 minutes. Brooklyn felt his presence on the defensive end, too, and Embiid did great work guarding Lopez in the post. He also did a great job of protecting the paint without fouling.
Embiid picked up the offensive slack of Jahlil Okafor, who had an absolutely dreadful performance on the offensive end. Despite getting decent minutes, Okafor had just three points and missed all ten of his field goal attempts.
1Bradley Beal – 41 Points, 13-23 Shooting, 6-10 From Three
The Wizards are 9-6 over their last 15 games; an outstanding run after looking like one of the NBA’s worst teams to start the season. Oddly enough, Beal has been a driving force of that stretch, and he’s looking like he’s worth the $127 million he got over the summer.
After dropping 41 on the Los Angeles Clippers — and leading the comeback victory — Beal is up to 26.5 points a night over Washington’s stretch, and his percentages are sky-high. He’s knocking down 44.3 percent of his threes and nearly half of his shots overall, and the Wizards are letting him create a lot on his own.
Against the Clips, Beal had a field day when guarded by J.J. Redick, and had no issues getting shots from anywhere on the court. He buried six threes, made nine free throws and even John Wall noticed his newfound aggression, “He was being aggressive on his own. And that kind of helped us get back into the game.”
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