Bradley Beal is a blogger now. He published a piece on his website on Tuesday afternoon about how the team has grown this season. He spent a good portion of the piece talking about how Scott Brooks has changed the culture in Washington and provided some examples of how he’s helped him become a better player.
We played against Cleveland back in early February and lost in OT, and I scored 41 points. Two days later, we won in OT against Brooklyn, and I had 31. Afterward, he used those games as an example for why I needed to stay aggressive.
“Never change your mindset or your approach to the game,” he said. “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”
He made a bet with me at the start of the year that I won’t shoot 20 threes in a game. Like, he actually wants me to shoot 20 or more threes, and if I do, he wins. So that’s just one example of what I mean when I say he believes in us as players.
Beal still has a long way to go before he can make Brooks pay up on that bet. His career-high for threes attempted in a game came in that game last month against Cleveland where he took 14 threes, but needed overtime to get the last three up.
If Beal attempts 20 in a game, it would put him in some rare and unusual company. It’s only happened six times in NBA history, and they all came in odd circumstances. Michael Adams once attempted 20 in a ridiculously fast-paced game at the end of the 1990-91 season. George McCloud attempted 20 in meaningless game 1996 game between the Mavericks and Nets. Vince Carter fired off 20 threes to lift the Nets to a win over the Grizzlies, who went on to go 22-60. Damon Stoudamire attempted 21 in an unconscionable late season game against the Warriors where he played all 48 minutes and only scored 18 points. Kobe Bryant attempted 21 in the final game of his NBA career against the Jazz last season. And who can forget how J.R. Smith set the NBA record by going off for 22 against the Heat in 2014?
If you gave Brooks some truth serum, he’d probably tell you that attempting 20 or more threes in a game probably isn’t the best idea in the world. Still, there’s no question Brooks tactics are working. Beal is more aggressive and more efficient taking threes this season, which has fueled his major improvement this season.
Brooks has been great at giving everyone on the roster challenges to bring the best out of their game this season. Whether it’s encouraging John Wall to be a better defender, getting Markieff Morris to be more of a stretch four, or asking newcomer Brandon Jennings to shoot more all of the challenges he’s issuing are motivating players in the right way and leading to great results this season.