Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed 26 games last season due to various leg injuries, and a stress fracture in right fibula brought his rookie campaign to an end on April 2. He had his best stretch of the season prior to being sidelined for good, averaging 16.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while making 46 percent of his three-pointers over his final 14 games (seven starts).
Beal finished last season averaging 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in his 56 games played (46 starts), and all indications are he is 100 percenty healthy heading into the new season. Should fantasy basketball owners expect a breakout this season?
Beal has had a productive run this preseason, with 50 points scored over the last two games as of this writing. That is the clearest sign he is 100 healthy in my opinion, and he and John Wall look ready to become one of the top backcourts in the league this year.
Martell Webster was re-signed by the Wizards after a solid 2012-2013 campaign in which he averaged 11.4 points per game and made over 42 percent of his three-pointers, and he has to be considered Beal’s immediate backup at two-guard right now. Washington does have an unsettled situation at small forward, with Trevor Ariza limited to 56 games last season and rookie Otto Porter battling a hip issue that has his status for the start of the season in doubt, so Webster may be in line for a lot of playing time there while Beal monopolizes the minutes at shooting guard.
The Wizards do not have legitimate offensive threats at power forward or center, so their offense should go through Wall and Beal with both players having free reign to create their own offense and take the majority of the team’s shots. I expect Beal to see a boost in playing time this season (31.2 minutes per game last season) with better health, and his production should follow suit as a very good multi-faceted producer (points, rebounds, assists, steals) for fantasy owners, along with shooting percentages that will not hamper his value in leagues that use those categories.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.