Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal A Villian?
Bradley Beal was drafted into the NBA in 2012 coming out of the University of Florida. He was everything that an NBA team would want in a player who could become one of the faces of the franchise.
He was clean cut, polite, and constantly donned a smile. Beal quickly became well-liked by not only the coaches but his teammates also.
While watching Beal during his rookie season, you got the sense that he didn’t want to upset Coach Randy Wittman by breaking set plays, so he always seemed to play within himself. He was never out of control, rarely took bad shots and always made sure to stay within the offense. He was the perfect counterbalance to the Washington Wizards‘ other star player, John Wall.
Wall was notorious for “playing too fast,” blazing down the court, usually taking an awful shot with none of his teammates within 10 feet of him. The two eventually settled in and were looking like one of the best backcourts in the NBA.
While Wall eventually took big steps forward to become arguably the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, Beal has stayed “steady” and has pretty much performed the same way he has since his rookie season.
Beal rarely shows emotion, never gets too excited during the game, and appears almost aloof to everyone on the court. That is, of course, until the playoffs roll around. During the postseason, Beal becomes a different player.
In the past two playoff appearances, Beal has played with increased aggression, went out of his way to talk smack to other players (i.e. Mike Dunleavy in 2014 and Kyle Lowry in 2015), and looked for his shot even if it wasn’t falling.
There have been whispers behind the scenes about Beal’s hot temperament outside of the public’s eye.
For example, during the Wizards’ awful start to the 2013-2014 season, Beal was spotted having a confrontation with coach Randy Wittman. However, after that outburst, Beal and the Wizards turned in a pretty solid season and ended up making the playoffs.
Fast-forward to earlier this month, Beal made some comments about effort and how the team seemed to “give up” which made a lot of people (especially fans) upset at him. The next few games after the comments were mixed for Beal, but he actually showed some emotion and didn’t give his usual boilerplate answers after a loss.
Sometimes Beal’s other side starts to show, but the question is:
Should Beal embrace the darkside and just become a full-time villain?
Why not just be the guy that most of the teammates don’t like, but have to deal with?
Beal could make the “we need to play harder” comments all the time. He could chuck 20-25 shots a game while occasionally calling his own number. Like it or not, Beal WILL be signed to a max contract this summer by an NBA team – most likely by the Washington Wizards.
In addition, Beal and the Wizards will most likely have a new coach, so chances are the Wizards will be running a new offense, so why not be the focal point of the offense?
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If you take a look at some of the other shooting guards in the league – like James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and even the retiring king a-hole himself, Kobe Bryant – they all have that “I don’t care who likes me” edge to their games.
In sports/entertainment, it’s not unheard of a guy reinventing themselves after appearing one way to start a career.
Take a look at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, for example.
When he started off wrestling in the WWE, he was presented as “Rocky Maivia,” the Blue Chipper.
He was always smiling, upbeat and always clean cut.
Eventually, the WWE crowds turned on him for always being overly nice/fake, so he reinvented himself. He changed his name to “The Rock”, changed his attitude, embraced being a “heel,” and began insulting any and everyone.
The public and the fans began to also embrace his attitude and now The Rock is one of the most famous wrestlers of all time and Dwayne Johnson is one of the most bankable action stars in Hollywood.
I think Washington Wizards fans would probably love seeing Beal becoming a bad ass for the team. Some of the most beloved players on recent Wizards teams were certified a-holes. Think about DeShawn Stevenson, and yes, Gilbert Arenas. We loved those players because they were authentic.
Beal is a frustrating player, because when he is playing well and focused, you can clearly see his potential and his unlimited upside as a shooter. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get that kind of focus until the playoffs.
Plus, the elephant in the room is of course Beal’s injuries. However, if Beal comes in with the mindset of being a primary catalyst for the team, he could seriously be a force for the Washington Wizards which would make them one of the best teams in the East.
Wizards fans have made the observation that the team feeds off of Wall and his passion, but I feel as if Beal becomes a villain of sorts and plays like he did during the playoffs for the duration of the whole season, Wall would feed off of him and put up stats better than his two past monster years.
The biggest thing that Beal has going for him is his age. Being only 22-years-old, he has some time to figure out what works best for him. That’s why Beal needs to say hello to the bad guy.