Updated: Jul 25, 2021
Enough is enough. This is coming from a die-hard Washington Wizards fan. It is time to free Bradley Beal. The NBA is a super team league, and a squad led by a former MVP and the man leading the NBA in scoring is off to a 3-12 start. A lot has gone wrong with this Wizards team, but one thing has remained a constant over the past few seasons. Bradley Beal gets buckets. Night in and night out, Bradley Beal does everything he can to lead the Wizards to victory, but with the roster constructed around him and the third-worst Head Coach in the NBA Scott Brooks at the helm (behind Stan Van Gundy and Doc Rivers), the nightly output is embarrassing, and something needs to change now. For the people who double-taked at Doc Rivers being labeled as my second worst coach in the league, in 22 seasons he has won 1 Championship. This is the same guy who was the coach in Boston that had four All-Star players, the same guy who never reached a Western Conference Finals with the lob city crew in LA, and the same guy who blew a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the bubble. Sorry for going on a tangent about Doc Rivers, but the real ones know how fired up I get about him. Anyways, with over eight seasons in Washington, and 2 All-Star appearances, it is time the Wizards trade the best shooting guard in the league at the peak of his value.
Bradley Beal came to Washington in 2012 after being selected third overall by Washington out of the University of Florida. He was drafted behind Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and in my mind, Beal is the third-best player selected in this draft class behind Anthony Davis (1) and Damian Lillard (6). He showed a lot of promise as a rookie, scoring 13.9 points per game on 38.6% shooting from three-point range. He has improved every single season since. After jumping up to 17.1 points per game in year two, Beal struggled with injuries and missed 46 games over the next two seasons. Since 2016, Beal has been one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. He made his first All-Star game in 2018 followed by the 2019 All-Star game before being snubbed for the All-Star game in 2020 while setting the record for the highest points per game total of a player to not be selected. Beal ended the COVID shortened season with a career-high in points and assists, averaging 30.5 points per game and 6.1 assists per game. The 6'3 27-year-old guard entered this 2020-2021 season coming off his best season of basketball, with his last game occurring on March 10th, dropping 39 points against the New York Knicks. After sitting out the restart because he was wise enough to know that Washington had no chance in the bubble, Beal entered this season with a rejuvenated Wizards team that he was ready to lead.
I for one can say I had high hopes for this year. My thoughts were well documented after we dropped the first and only Emergency MoeCast Episode on YouTube the day after the Wizards traded for Russell Westbrook. After re-watching this video, a smart man would delete the evidence of optimism after the 3-12 start, but I deserve the criticism after some bold quotes I made in this video.
Now, I was not wrong about one thing. Bradley Beal is a superstar. He leads the league in scoring at 35.4 points per game ahead of Kevin Durant (30.5), Damian Lillard (28.7), Joel Embiid (27.7), and Steph Curry (27.7). I would say that is some pretty good company, but there is one thing that separates Bradley Beal from the pack of these other players. Bradley Beal's team is not good, and the other teams are. The Wizards record of 3-12 is the worst in the league, while the Nets, Trail Blazers, 76ers, and Warriors have a combined record of 46-29. What is the difference between the Washington Wizards and the rest of these teams? Other organizations give their superstars help. On Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Washington Wizards' starting lineup consisted of Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Isaac Bonga, Jordan Bell, and Robin Lopez. I do not care that the Wizards organization is rampant with COVID and was missing six players, their starting lineup is not much better with everyone healthy. This is mostly due to the fact that the Wizards have not had a quality first-round draft pick since the 2012 season when they drafted Beal. Rui Hachimura has potential, but our best first-round pick was Otto Porter in 2013. This is the same Otto Porter that we gave a max contract to, and then traded to the Chicago Bulls for the expiring contracts of Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker. The Wizards have not had an All-Star other than the names Bradley Beal and John Wall since 2008. It's been a rough go to be a Wizards fan, and I have not even talked about the man that all of you are thinking about. John Wall.
It is time to admit my expectations after the John Wall for Russell Westbrook trade were a little overblown. Everyone needs to get calibrated and mentally reset their basketball minds after something happened so quickly and out of the blue. I have now had time to think. I still love Russell Westbrook; he has the heart of a champion and plays the game at 100% effort all the time. I respect that. I respect his passion and his loyalty that he has displayed throughout his career. He just cannot shoot, and he cannot avoid turning the ball over. The inability to shoot + averaging 5.2 turnovers per game = very poor play. Russell entered the contest vs the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night with 163 points scored on the season. This means he is averaging 18.1 points per game which is not terrible, but Westbrook has attempted 163 shots on the season. 163 shots resulting in 163 points. Yikes. John Wall on the other hand is averaging an identical 18.1 points per game but is still working himself back into form with limited minutes coming off his brutal injuries. It is disappointing the output that Westbrook is putting together, and it would have been interesting to see what Wall would have done in DC this season. I have concluded that the haters were right. The John Wall for Russell Westbrook trade might have been the first trade in NBA history where everyone knew that both teams lost the trade. All I know is that Bradley Beal lost his longest-tenured teammate and his best friend in John Wall.
Bradley Beal has gone through a lot in Washington. He has spent over eight seasons in DC and has never reached the Eastern Conference Finals. He got snubbed for the NBA All-Star game when he was averaging over 30 points in 2020, and now he is 27 years old playing the best basketball of his career on the worst team in the NBA. After watching the miserable Wizards and Head Coach Scott Brooks doing anything he can to save his job, I am shocked that Beal has somehow maintained his composure. It is time to let the man free. It will be the hardest thing I have had to endure as a Washington Wizards fan but let us be real here. There is no way in the world that we have any chance to contend over the next few seasons with the firepower in the Eastern Conference. Give Brad Beal a shot at a ring with a contender, and we can get 4-5 first-round picks and a couple of young and promising players for him. It is time to free Bradley Beal, fire Scott Brooks, and start the rebuild process now.