A stat that was brought up a lot last season was Bradley Beal’s three point shooting percentage. During the 2021-2022 season, Beal shot a career low 30 percent from long range. Prior to last season, Beal had never shot below 35 percent from three. So the sudden drop to 30 percent was odd. But this year, Beal is back to shooting threes at a high level. Beal is currently shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc on 5.2 attempts per game according to basketball reference.
So what was it that changed? Beal didn’t have to overhaul his shooting mechanics. The Wizards still play offense at a slow pace. Beal has also missed games this season due to injury and health/safety protocols. Missed games are going to throw off a player’s rhythm to an extent. So how is Beal shooting threes at a high percentage?
One change can make a big difference
Last season, only 60 percent of Beal’s three point attempts were assisted according to basketball reference. Which is a career low. His previous career low in that stat was 63 percent, during the 2019-2020 season. This season, 88.9 percent of Beal’s three point attempts are assisted. Which is the third highest percentage of his career.
During the years where Beal shot 40 percent or better from three, at least 80 percent of his three point attempts were assisted. Beal and his coaching/training staff found the formula for long range success. Cut down on off the dribble threes, while taking more catch and shoot threes.
Still getting better after 10 years in the NBA
Beal’s mid range game was still dangerous last year, even with his struggles from long range. This year, Beal is shooting 58 percent from mid range according to basketball reference. This is why Beal is having his most efficient season by far. He became even better at his strengths, while cleaning up a weakness he had last season.
It is common for players to get better year after year. But by year 10, it becomes more and more difficult to add things to your game. If you make it to the NBA, your skills are already at an elite level. It now becomes a challenge of how can you improve on a skillset that is elite. It’s easier to do that in years 3-5. Not so much in year 10.
Which is why I give Beal a lot of credit for still making noticeable improvements in his game. Last year, he improved as a playmaker. In the seasons prior to last year, Beal improved his athleticism and ability to finish around the basket. Before that, he improved his ball handling skills. Year by year, Beal continues to add new elements to his game.