It’s hard to imagine a 19-year-old NBA rookie, a spark plug of speed and energy, playing better by slowing down. But it’s exactly what Bradley Beal says he’s done in his past few games, at least mentally.
But in the past six games, he has averaged 15.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
It’s as though a light clicked on for the Wizards’ shooting guard.
“I’m just getting more comfortable,” Beal said. “The game is slowing down for me. I’m just taking my time and taking what the defense is giving me. I’m really just letting the game come to me.”
It’s safe to say Washington (3-16) is struggling without its floor leader, point guard John Wall, who is sidelined with a stress injury to his left knee.
Both were looking forward to running up and down the court together and playing an up-tempo style.
Crawford got the nod at point guard when Wall’s backup, A.J. Price, fractured his right hand in a 101-97loss to Golden State last Saturday.
Crawford has noticed Beal’s improvement.
“He’s more aggressive, that’s the main thing,” Crawford said. “He’s not passing up as many shots as he was early on.”
Beal already carries himself with the confidence of a veteran and is taking the Wizards’ troubles in stride. Washington may have the worst record in the NBA, but you’d never know it by listening to Beal.
“I have the mentality that nobody can beat us,” Beal said. “That’s just how I think, and I’m pretty sure that’s how my teammates [think]. There’s not a moment out here where we think we’re going to lose a game.”