Don't look now, but the Washington Wizards are on a roll, winners of seven of their last nine games. And at 9-9, only Indiana and Miami have better records in the dreadful Eastern Conference. The curious part about the Wizards' recent run is that most of it has happened without Bradley Beal, who has missed the last week with a stress injury to his right fibula. Washington is 5-8 in the games with the second-year standout, and 4-1 since he went down. Is it simply the case of taking advantage of a soft schedule or is there more to it? Certainly the schedule does skew the win-loss record some -- since Beal went out, the Wizards have played the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic at home, winning them all, and snuck by Milwaukee on the road. Their only big test, a road game against Indiana, ended in a 20-point loss. That being said, the injury to Beal has forced Randy Wittman to go with a starting lineup that utilizes the five most efficient players on the team: John Wall, Nene Hilario, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat and Martell Webster. Entering Wednesday, all five of them have a PER above the league average of 15. Beal, who only turned 20 over the summer, is certainly an advanced scorer for his age, but his lack of efficiency could become a concern if it doesn't start to show improvement. As a rookie, he finished with a respectable 13.69 PER with a 51.5 true shooting percentage, and the early going this year both of those numbers are down (13.62 PER and 50.7 TS%). One of the biggest reasons? Beal's penchant for settling for the long two. According to NBA.com, he has already attempted 80 shots in the 15-19 foot range this season, making only 25 (31.3 percent). To put that in perspective, only eight other starters in the league (LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Henderson, Jason Smith, Dirk Nowitzki, Wall, Al Horford, DeMar DeRozan and Carmelo Anthony) have attempted more long twos, and all of them are connecting at a higher rate. Taking it a step further, among the 50 starters in the league with the most "long two" attempts, Beal's shooting percentage is the lowest.While Beal is clearly a key cornerstone for this team and needs to be playing major minutes this piece does bring up interesting points. Thoughts?