WASHINGTON — Quick. If somebody says “Bradley Beal,” what’s the first word you think of?
Pretty good chance the answer was “injuries.” Or “hurt.”
Maybe you thought “Wizards,” “basketball,” “guard,” “contract” or something else, but it’s hard to disassociate the 23-year-old shooting guard from his checkered health history.
As he prepares for his fifth NBA season, he’s missed roughly a quarter of the regular-season games the Wizards have played (81 games out of 247). His total games played by season goes like this: 56, 73, 63, 55. He’s also appeared in 31 games he didn’t start, including 24 over the past two seasons, so he could ease back into the lineup while recovering from injuries.
He’s had some degree of stress injury in his right leg in each of his four NBA seasons.
But he told Grant and Danny Wednesday that, thanks to a new training regimen and some new trainers, his injury problem is a thing of the past.
“I think it’s behind me,” Beal said. “We have a new PT on staff, and my big brother’s my strength coach, so I have a great program put together in which we think these stress reactions and injuries are way behind me. It’s all about — we started from the basics and changed my functional movement, the way my body moves, and the muscles that are supposed to kick on and the muscles that aren’t supposed to kick on. Just started from the bottom and just working our way back up. It’s been great this year. I haven’t had any pain, any soreness, any injuries this offseason, and it’s going to continue to stay that way.”
“This is probably the best offseason, and the most dedicated I’ve been, in terms of taking care of my body, working on my game and putting everything together,” Beal added. “So I have a great plan. Everything’s looking good, feeling good, and I’m looking forward to the year.”
As for the rest of the call, which is available in its entirety below, Beal confirmed coach Scott Brooks’ declaration that, despite being just 23, he is “an old soul.” He also said what he wants to work most on for next season is improving his defense; last offseason, his major project was improving his ball-handling.
Finally, Beal doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, or the “superteam” culture in general.
“You can’t knock ’em for it,” Beal said about stars teaming up. “Superteams can be beat too. It’s not like they’re invincible.”