Washington Wizards 2016 Season Review: Bradley Beal

Apr 6, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) looks up at the scoreboard against the Brooklyn Nets in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 121-103. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) looks up at the scoreboard against the Brooklyn Nets in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 121-103. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards expected Bradley Beal to have a breakout year, but the often-injured guard went through a bizarre season instead

Basic Stats: 17.4 PPG (44.9 FG% and 38.7 3P%), 3.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.0 Steals

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be posting individual player reviews for the guys that ended the season in a Washington Wizards uniform. We’ll continue with everyone’s favorite future maxed out guard…

During the 2015-16 NBA season, Bradley Beal had been one of the more polarizing figures around the league.

Coming off a stellar performance in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, many believed that this would be Beal’s leap year into stardom. He said all of the right things in the off-season and clips of him showing off his newfound handles sparked enthusiasm among fans.

The Washington Wizards had their best record and season in 30 years, and would finally start the year healthy. Basketball observers and so-called experts compared the John Wall and Beal pairing to the duo in Golden State.

Some writers (ahem) even compared Washington’s backcourt to a legendary, championship backcourt in Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars from the Detroit Pistons.

While we all knew what franchise point guard brought to the table with his effective, high octane style of play, most of the people were excited about the backcourt due to the flashes of offensive brilliance and underrated defensive acumen shown by Beal during the previous year’s playoffs.

The biggest question mark about Beal was his ability to stay on the floor and avoid injury.

More from Wizards News

Injuries have plagued Beal from the start, however, this past season was supposed to be the time Washington’s guards stayed healthy and caused havoc in the East.

The Wizards were being picked to win 50+ games and were being mentioned as high as a two or three seed to challenge Cleveland in the Eastern Conference in a few preseason previews.

Another big storyline with the team was Beal’s impending free agency and eventual max contract that had to be discussed.

With the new TV deal in place starting in the summer of 2016, Beal would eventually make $20+ million a season, which would make him the highest paid player on the team.

The season actually started out really well for Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards.

Early in the season, Beal was playing as advertised and the Wizards were rolling. Wall himself admitted that he wasn’t in the best shape to start the season, but because of Beal’s incredible play and shooting, the Wizards looked like contenders.

In what will probably go down as one of Beal’s best career games, the Wizards defeated the San Antonio Spurs off a last second 3-point dagger by Beal.

He torched the Spurs for 25 while being guarded by Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.

After the win, Wizards fans thought that Beal’s injury questions were in the past and he was ready for his close-up as a league superstar.

Beal was playing with a confidence that he had only previously shown in the playoffs and even dropped the classic “nobody can stop me” line in an interview. With Wall getting into shape and the rotations being set, the Wizards were looking the part as contenders.

Because of injuries to other players, Wall and Beal were forced to carry the heavy load for the Washington Wizards.

Due to the heavy minutes, a previous leg injury for Beal popped up once again and he was forced to miss time at a crucial stretch of the season.

While Beal did eventually make his way back into the lineup, the confidence and killer instinct that he showed earlier in the season was gone.

Add to the fact that a minutes restriction was placed on him, this turned into a bizarre season for what was going to be a coming out party of sorts for Beal.

At times, Beal appeared to be disinterested and certainly disengaged.

More from Wizards News

His numbers were up all across the board, but many basketball observers around the league openly wondered if Beal is really worth a max contract that he would probably demand in the offseason.

Lately, after re-accessing Beal’s situation and age, fans have become more open to giving Beal the inevitable max contract. Instead of letting him walk, the Washington Wizards would be paying the market price for a 22-year-old player with All-Star talent.

With the news of a few players who were locks to make the Olympic team pulling their names out of consideration, this offseason could potentially be the biggest of Beal’s career.

He could sign a new max deal with the Wizards, be selected to play on Team USA, which wasn’t a possibility even a week ago, and be featured offensively by possibly the best coach he has had in years.

Wall’s knee procedures might force him to miss training camp, which would put the pressure on Beal to carry the team while he recovers. He would have to be the go-to max player that he believes he can be.

There are two factions of Washington Wizards fans: those that love Beal and will defend him and the max dollars he’ll receive and fans that loathe Beal and wish that a deal could be made so the Wizards could wash their hands of him and his injury concerns and bring in a proven superstar.

Next: Bradley Beal for Kevin Love? No Thanks

Either way, Beal has been and will continue to be one of the main conversation topics when the Wizards are being discussed. This past season might not have been ideal, but it looks like Beal is going to stick around.