WASHINGTON — Now in the third full month of his NBA playing career, former University of Florida star Bradley Beal seems like he’s found his comfort zone.
Beal is averaging 17.8 points per game and is shooting almost 54 percent from 3-point range this month.
“I’ve been real comfortable,” Beal said before the Wizards started their shootaround this morning to prepare for their game tonight against the Orlando Magic.
“The game’s starting to slow down for me more, and I’ve gained a lot more confidence. Coach is putting a lot of confidence in me as well, and my teammates, they’re putting me in good situations on the court. I’ve been really taking advantage of it and I’m just having fun more than anything.”
The Wizards picked Beal, a shooting guard, third overall in last June’s draft after he spent one season at Florida.
He’s just 19 years old and is the third-youngest player in the league, trailing only fellow rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Charlotte Bobcats and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.
The biggest adjustment for Beal, as it is for most rookies, is developing the right mentality.
“No matter what your record is, it’s still a long season,” he said. “If you lose a game, you have to play the next night. So you can’t really dwell on the past or what just happened in a game or whatever, and you have to realize how good these guys are. They’re all pros. Everybody’s here for a reason. And everybody’s good. So you have to be ready to play every night, and you just have to have that mentality to be able to overcome all the adversity that you go through. It’s 82 games. It’s a long season.”
The Wizards are 6-28.
Beal continues to watch the Gators play whenever possible.
“I talk to a few of them all the time, because I’m still close with them,” he said. “I feel like I’m still in college sometimes. Those guys are doing well. They had two tough losses, but I think that they’re going to have a great chance of winning a championship this year.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times