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All eyes on Bradley Beal as large offseason begins for Wizards | Sports activities



WASHINGTON — A number of weeks after the surgical procedure that in the end ended his season, Bradley Beal was speaking with reporters when he was requested a easy query: Was it truthful to say he was leaning towards re-signing with Washington?

“It’s fair,” Beal mentioned in early March, with out providing any extra assurance than that.

Now the Wizards embark on a large offseason, and all eyes are on Beal, who can grow to be a free agent this summer time. His subsequent transfer will clearly have a huge impact on the franchise’s path.

Beal had surgical procedure in February on his left wrist and didn’t play once more. A Washington crew that began quick underneath new coach Wes Unseld Jr. ended up going 35-47 and lacking the playoffs.

Washington started the season by successful 10 of its first 13 video games. The commerce that despatched Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers was paying dividends, with Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell all contributing after coming to Washington in that deal.

By the time Beal went down, nevertheless, the Wizards had been already slipping. That damage definitely didn’t assist their prospects, and so they ended up making extra important strikes on the deadline. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was acquired to play level guard earlier than the season, was dealt to Dallas in a deal that introduced Kristaps Porzingis to Washington. The Wizards additionally traded Harrell.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis performed nicely for Washington, averaging 22.1 factors in 17 video games for the Wizards. He by no means acquired to play alongside Beal, and the query now could be whether or not he’ll have that probability subsequent season.

“Slowly, we’re kind of figuring each other out, especially my teammates with me, because I just got here,” Porzingis mentioned late this season. “I think we’re still pretty far away from where we want to be, in terms of chemistry and stuff like that, but it’s not bad for this short a period of time. It’s pretty good. I’m excited to see what’s ahead of us.”

At the purpose

The level guard spot has usually been a energy for Washington, with Westbrook, John Wall and Gilbert Arenas having occupied it. Dinwiddie had large footwear to fill when he arrived, and his tenure with the Wizards didn’t final lengthy. Now Washington wants to seek out one other resolution.

Defensive points

The Wizards stay a piece in progress on protection after Unseld’s first season. They completed twenty fifth within the league in defensive score.

“We had to change how we defended certain things, pretty much in the middle of the season,” Unseld mentioned. “A bit of a hiccup, but that’s what we had. So we had to adjust things a little bit, and it took a little time to get back on track in that area.”

Washington ranked final within the NBA in steals.

Long distance

The Wizards additionally completed final within the league in made 3-pointers, however on this space, their protection did succeed. No crew held opponents to fewer 3-point makes an attempt than Washington, and solely two groups allowed fewer made 3s.

New additions

Kuzma averaged 17.1 factors, his highest common since his second season with the Lakers in 2018-19. Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.2 factors.

Efficient

Daniel Gafford averaged a career-high 9.4 factors per recreation on 69% capturing from the sector. The 23-year-old Gafford doesn’t have the peak of Porzingis, however his athleticism might be an asset for the Wizards within the seasons to come back.

“I think overall, he’s shown growth in a lot of areas. He still has a lot of untapped potential, in my opinion,” Unseld mentioned. “He’s very impressionable. I think at times, his confidence wanes, but that’s all young players.”

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Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

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