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Three stats that explain why Bradley Beal needs to stop taking pullup, midrange shots

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Bradley Beal is a young, dynamic shooter the Wizards can build around, but the time has come for someone to get him to stop taking shots he's not good at shooting.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Only one player shoots as much and as badly from the midrange as Bradley Beal

39 players are averaging 4.5 midrange attempts or more this season. 25 of them are shooting at least 40 percent or more from that area. 37 of them are shooting at least 35 percent from that area. The only two that aren't are Bradley Beal (34.9 percent) and Andrew Wiggins (32.2 percent).

Worst midrange shooters (min. 4.5 attempts per game)
Player FGM FGA FG%
Andrew Wiggins 1.6 5.1 32.2
Bradley Beal 1.6 4.7 34.9
DeMar DeRozan 3.1 8.8 35.7
DeMarcus Cousins 2.1 5.8 36.4
Kobe Bryant 3.3 8.9 37

2. Bradley Beal is far less open on midrange shots than threes

According to the NBA.com's Shot Tracking Tool, Beal isn't as good at taking what the defense gives him when it comes to the difference between midrange shots and threes. The average distance between Beal and the closest defender when he takes a three pointer is 7 feet. The average distance between Beal and the closest defender on midrange shots is 4 feet.

But here's the weird thing: On threes, there's a noticeable difference in how effective Beal is, depending on the proximity of the defender. On three point makes, Beal has about 7.6 feet of separation on average. On misses, that separation drops down to 6.6 feet, which makes sense. But on midrange shots, there's almost no discernible difference between makes and misses. The closest defender on a make is 4.05 feet away. The closest defender on a miss 4.03 feet away, which leads us to our final point...

3. Bradley Beal takes more pullup jumpers than catch-and-shoot jumpers per game

That's ridiculous. A player like John Wall should be taking pullup jumpers because his speed and jumping ability makes his shot virtually unblockable and it's a shot he's more comfortable taking on a regular basis. Using Bradley Beal - a player with textbook form on his jumper - in situations where he has to rush his shot in traffic on low-value shots is like buying an Apple Watch because you think the straps look fancy.

Here's a look at the difference in his effectiveness between the two different types of jumpers, via NBA.com:

Shot Type FGM FGA eFG% 3P 3PA 3P%
Catch and Shoot 1.8 4.6 55.2 1.5 3.5 42.5
Pullups 1.7 4.8 38.2 0.2 0.6 37


As you can see, virtually all of Beal's pullups come inside the arc. So again, not only is taking a shot he's not as good at, but he's doing it on a shot he's not as comfortable shooting.

So why does he take so many? Well, it's hard to know for sure, but consider that Sam Cassell helped coach Bradley Beal for his first two seasons:

Yes, we understand that you can't completely eliminate Beal's midrange game, unless he learns to become a much more effective finisher. But at the same time, these pullup midrange jumpers have gotten way too far out of hand. Even if they can't find a more efficient way to use the possessions Beal is wasting on contested 18-footers, they need to get Beal out of these bad habits before they start limiting his upward potential.