home Blogs The sad story about a young Brad Beal not invited to the NBA’s 3-Point party

The sad story about a young Brad Beal not invited to the NBA’s 3-Point party

Everyone at some point has come across that one kid who lives with his strict parents, right? You know, the one who yearns to be like the cool kids but is never allowed to play with his friends or hang out, nor is he even allowed to have anyone over. He’s unbeatable in Mario Kart (when he plays against his cousins) but owns no video game console. The only time he can watch any television is during the 30 minute timeslot he’s given only upon completion of his homework and a million other chores. At school, he tries to act cool. Shit, he knows he can be cool, as cool as any of them. He laughs at the other kids’ jokes and has the same crush on the popular girl all the other boys have. He once even agreed to act as a lookout for teachers while one of his schoolmates made out with a girlfriend in the back stairwell. But when the time comes for that one birthday party all the cool kids are attending, our poor little friend is left uninvited.

Whew. Now that I’m done sharing with you that awful anecdote describing my childhood, let me explain how it pertains to the basketball life of Bradley Beal and his impending absence from this year’s 3-Point Shootout during All-Star Weekend.

Beal has all the attributes of a cool kid in the NBA. He can shoot the ball as well as most of them. He can drive to the rim and has displayed the strength to score or draw a foul against most rim protectors. He’s proven this from time to time throughout his young career when he’s managed to sneak out of his prison of rudiment basketball for that 30+ point game, knocking down like five 3’s. It’s practically synonymous with the time I lied to my ‘rents about staying after school but instead went to a friend’s house and destroyed everyone in Tekken 2.


Yet, Brad remains deprived and underprivileged. Like the parental lock on our cable box that restricted me from watching MTV or HBO, Wittman’s offensive strategy has criminally restricted Beal from shooting enough 3-point shots, thusly becoming the primary reason why he is not in this year’s 3-Point Shootout come February 14th.

It’s quite sad, to be honest. As I was jotting down stats and comparing Beal’s shooting numbers from downtown against those who were selected over him to participate in the Shootout, he suddenly became that pre-teen version of me. Neglected, abandoned, and forsaken. While the rest of Brad’s league-mates celebrate the prosperity of successful 3-point shooting and their role as established long-range shooters, a young, snotty-nosed Brad has been left uninvited from the party. When I was left out from those types of gatherings, my father would at least give me a few taps of pity on my back as if to express some sort of solace for my sadness. Poor Brad probably doesn’t even get that from Wittman.

Anyway,the cool kids invited to this year’s 3-point slumber party include Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, and..JJ Redick? What kind of obliteration of self-esteem are we attempting on this poor kid?

Sadly, it is true. Redick has tallied numbers more qualifying than Beal this season. Walk with me as I break down the glaring differences in production between the five chosen players and the unchosen Beal.

[Note: all stats are as of January 27, 2014, when the 3-point contestants were first announced.]

Klay Thompson

  • 41 games played, averaging 3.2/7.0 (.458)
    Games with 3 or less 3-point attempts: 3
    Games with 5 or more 3-point makes: 6
    Games with double-digit 3-point attempts: 6
    Season-high in 3-point attempts: 15
    Season-high in 3-point makes: 11

Steph Curry

  • 42 games played, averaging 3.0/7.5 (.396)
    Games with 3 or less 3-point attempts: 1
    Games with 5 or more 3-point makes: 8
    Games with double-digit attempts: 9
    Season-high in 3-point attempts: 12
    Season-high in 3-point makes: 8

Kyle Korver

  • 44 games played, averaging 3.1/5.8 (.531)
    Games with 3 or less 3-point attempts: 8
    Games with 5 or more 3-point makes: 6
    Games with double-digit attempts: 0
    Season-high in 3-point attempts: 9
    Season-high in 3-point makes: 7

JJ Redick

  • 45 games played, averaging 2.5/5.7 (.441)
    Games with 3 or less 3-point attempts: 9
    Games with 5 or more 3-point makes: 4
    Games with double-digit attempts: 1
    Season-high in 3-point attempts: 10
    Season-high in 3-point makes: 5

Wesley Matthews

  • 45 games played, averaging 3.1/7.7 (.399)
    Games with 3 or less 3-point attempts: 4
    Games with double-digit attempts: 12
    Season-high in 3-point attempts: 15
    Season-high in 3-point makes: 7
    Games with 5 or more 3-point makes: 10

And now…

Bradley Beal

*cue the sad trumpets*

  • 36 games played, averaging 1.8/4.0 (.441)
    Games with 3 or less 3-point attempts: 19 (shot 0-1 in 37 minutes against San Antonio)
    Games with double-digit attempts: 1
    Season-high in 3-point attempts: 11
    Season-high in 3-point makes: 5
    Games with 5 or more 3-point makes: 1

Allow me to summarize.

As of January 27, Beal had played a total of 36 games this season. Nineteen of those games were spent shooting less than three 3-point attempts. Curry, Thompson, Korver, Matthews, and Redick have all played at least 42 games (six more than Beal), yet the five of them have a combined total of only 25 games between them in which they attempted three or less 3-point attempts. This is an insane difference.

Only one time this season has Beal attempted a double-digit number of 3-point attempts – 11 against Houston on December 29. That’s actually one more than Korver, who’s had 0 games with double-digit attempts this season but let’s apply some context to those numbers. Korver happens average two 3-point attempts more per game than Beal and shoots them at a resounding 53%. Korver also happens to have six other teammates who average at least two 3-point attempts a game, making it nearly impossible for any Hawks player to solely chuck up a barrage of 3-pointers in one game.

Bradley Beal has had only one game in which he accomplished five or more 3-point makes in a single game. This year’s Shootout participants all have at least four times as many.

Now, fans and media have obviously delved into this travesty to the point of horse mutilation; maligning coaching philosophies, sugarcoating Beal’s faults with the notion that he’s still underdeveloped and not assertive enough, mix and matching where we assign blame to and who we mark as responsible. We’ve heard Wittman’s number 1 house rule of “taking what the defense gives you”. We’ve knocked Beal for his lack of assertiveness in attacking the rim or for not taking a simple step back behind the 3-point line instead of stepping in for a low percentage long 2.

Of course, a 3-point contest isn’t all that will define Beal’s improvement or regression. It does, however, offer an example of where he is in his development as a premier NBA shooter, and where we expect him to be. Based on the numbers presented above, Brad seemingly wasn’t a close call in the selection process, but more so a long shot despite having made 44% of his 3-point shots so far this season. His amount of makes and attempts come off as a sample size in contrast to the players who were selected, and it does nothing more but to serve as a clear indication that Beal’s usage in the Wizards’ offense must be improved, both by way of coaching and by way of Beal’s personal on-court instincts.

Perhaps Beal’s exclusion from this year’s competition will drive him into a state of rebellion, where he becomes the kid who ran away from home for three weeks only to party hard, wake up on a different couch every night, and suffer from a bad case of mono. Then, after having shot five to 10 three-pointers each night and he’s ready to settle back down and come home after making his point, his father Randy could likely loosen the cuffs a bit, give him a remorseful Danny Tanner heart-to-heart, and might even encourage his son to start engaging more in the things he enjoys.

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