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Did Bradley Beal play better or worse with a headband this season? An investigation.

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley Beal made some interesting changes to his game this season, but without a doubt, the biggest change came in the wardrobe department when he revealed he was going to wear a headband for the first time in his career.

When Beal came out of the gates firing, there were plenty of people out there who were ready to believe in the power of Beal's headband. Unfortunately, the hype around Beal's headband died off pretty quickly. Injuries, regression, and a brief stretch where he went headband-free killed the headband hype.

But now that the season is over, we can take a look back at how he performed with and without the headband this season to see if there was any discernable difference in his performance. But first, we have to figure out when exactly he wore the headband and when he didn't.

Headband Dates

After an exhaustive search of our photo archives, here's what we were able to determine about Beal's headband usage this season:

  • Of the 55 games Beal played this season, he started 50 wearing a headband. Occasionally, he would remove his headband during the game, but for the most part he started and closed games wearing a headband.
  • The only five games Beal did not use a headband came during a stretch in early December when the team faced the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks, Heat, and Rockets. After the Rockets game, Beal had to miss time due to a stress reaction. When he returned, Beal brought back the headband and kept it for the rest of the season, including when he had to wear a mask to protect his broken nose.

Beal's performance with a headband

Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Beal averaged 17.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.9 turnovers per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from three, and 77.6 percent from the free throw line in games he started with a headband this season.

Beal's headband season is very similar to what he posted in his sophomore season, when he averaged 17.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, though he posted those numbers while averaging more minutes per game. It's also worth noting he shot better with a headband this season than he did in his 2nd season, particularly inside the arc, and did a better job of earning free throws.

Beal's performance without a headband

NBA: Houston Rockets at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the five games Beal started without a headband, he averaged 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3.6 turnovers per game while shooting 40.9 percent from the floor, 41.3 percent from beyond the arc and 70 percent at the free throw line. That said, there's a few things to keep in mind:

  • The Wizards were playing extremely small lineups for most of this stretch due to Marcin Gortat and Nene's absences, which helps explain why Beal's rebounds, assists and turnovers were all above average during that stretch.
  • Four of the five teams the Wizards faced in this stretch finished in the bottom-half of defensive efficiency for the season.

Final Verdict: Did Bradley Beal's headband change his performance?

Not really.

Did it look good?

Yes.