Bradley Beal is done for his rookie year. While it is a sad day for Wizards fans everywhere, let us take this opportunity to reflect on Beal’s rookie year. After struggling for his first three months, Beal caught fire in January on out. He averaged over 17 points, over 45% from three, and looked like the makings of a franchise cornerstone. Below, I have outlined 6 of my favorite Beal moments. I suggest everyone take to twitter and do the same.
6. Beal talks Jesse Jackson in pre-draft interview.
Bradley Beal takes basketball incredibly seriously. If you read any interview of Beal, you’ll find his approach to basketball and his mindset during the game as serious as they come. But on topics other than basketball, Beal seems to have a great sense of humor. That was on display during the first interview Beal had at the Verizon center, when he came for pre-draft workouts. I hadn’t seen Beal talk before, and he came across as funny, articulate, and relatable. I mean honestly, who doesn’t want to sleep on a plane instead of talking to Jesse Jackson?
5. Bradley Beal scores 28 points in win over Milwaukee Bucks
Beal, who was only two days removed from a risk injury, was lights out, going 10 for 17 from the field and going 4 for 5 from three point range. With Wall playing the role of the facilitator with 10 assists, this game was one of the best examples during the season of what could be in a John Wall and Bradley Beal backcourt. And it was glorious.
4. Beal drops a career high 29 points against Knicks in loss
March 1st seems like an eternity ago, before John Wall discovered his jumper and started imposing his will on the league. But it was games like this one, where Beal was the star and Wall was clearly the second best guard in the backcourt, which made Wizards nation as a whole question building around Wall instead of Beal. And that’s less a knock on Wall then it is a compliment to Beal. In this game, he scored a career high 29 points on 21 shots. Yeah, it was pretty cool.
3. Bradley Beal dunks all over Marshon Brooks
One of the most surprising things about Bradley Beal this season has been his athleticism. I falsely assumed going into this season that his short stature (compared to other shooting guards) combined with his smooth stroke from the outside meant that he didn’t have the ability to get to the rim. Well, I was wrong. Beal had several great dunks throughout the season, and we’ll only see more of them as he gets better at attacking closeouts as his career goes on.
2. Bradley Beal’s buzzer beater game tying three against the Brooklyn Nets
This is the first of two late game heroics on this list. The beginning of the season, the Wizards were constantly fighting up hill, especially when A.J. Price went down in addition to John Wall. When Jordan Crawford is your major ball distributor, you’re going to have problems. But that doesn’t meant the Wizards didn’t put up a fight. Beal showed off his three point shooting prowess to miraculously send this game into overtime. Even though the Wizards lost the game, the elation I felt at that moment is comparable to almost any I’ve had all season.
1. Bradley Beal’s game winning shot over the Oklahoma City Thunder
You knew this had to be first, right?
In my mind, I split the season into two parts. And no, not before John Wall got back and after John Wall got back, even though he came back the next game. This is, at least for me, the moment the season turned. Beal takes an extraordinary move to propel the Wizards over the team who at the time had the best record in the league, and he was probably fouled in the process too. Before this moment, the Wizards were 4-28 and one of the worst three teams in the league. As silly as it sounds, this buzzer beating shot is the moment I felt that the Wizards had taken back their season.
In short Wizards fans, don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened. Thanks Bradley Beal, this season was really fun.