The Washington Wizards are falling farther out of the playoff hunt, and there’s at least one Wizards player who won’t be happy about it. Bradley Beal.
The Washington Wizards have dropped three out of four games since coming out of the all-star break and now sit 4.5 games out of the playoffs behind the Orlando Magic, who have gone 2-1. I’ve written about their strength of schedule, which is one of the worst in the entire league, so the potential for playoff games at Capital One Arena are extremely low.
ESPN puts our odd to make the playoffs at 0.7 percent. But if there’s one person on this team that can overcome those odds, it’s two-time all-star Bradley Beal.
And he’s also the guy who is going to quite obviously be the most unhappy if the team does not make the postseason. After voicing his displeasure in January, Beal made it clear there was a metaphorical “line in the sand” when it came to winning basketball games in D.C.
Bradley Beal was particularly down after tonight’s loss in Chicago.
On why this loss was hitting him harder than usual: “They all do. I don’t like losing. I’m sorry. Especially winnable games.”
On if it builds up: “Yeah, I would hope it does. I don’t like losing.” pic.twitter.com/SYSY1CkQaf
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) January 16, 2020
That doesn’t sound like a guy who is amenable to tanking or playing for next season, so I fully expect him to go hard the rest of this season as he has been doing already, now tied for second in scoring in the entire league with Atlanta’s Trae Young and just behind the Houston Rocket’s James Harden. Beal is here to ball, and that’s all there is to it.
He just signed an extension in October, also, which makes matters a tad more complicated. Even with two years remaining, Beal re-upped with the team he’s played for since draft day and committed to being a Washington Wizard for a majority of his sure to be fruitful career.
The downside to that is that now the Wizards are also locked into Beal on the other end. He’s signed with guaranteed money through 2021-2022, and then has a player option in 2022-2023 worth a ridiculous $37,262,299. So, in short, they have every incentive to keep the man happy as it will be nearly impossible to move that amount of money in any deal that makes sense for Washington in the long-term.
The key to keeping Beal just might be making the playoffs this year. Even if it’s a slim chance, putting in a solid effort to push for that last remaining spot in the East will prove to Beal that the Washington Wizards are just as invested in winning as the 26-year-old budding superstar.
Even if it hurts the Washington Wizards’ chances to land a top draft pick, making the playoffs to keep Bradley Beal happy is entirely worth it. Where else on the free agent market will they find someone who is capable of averaging over 30 points per game, shoots 37.8 percent from beyond the arc, and can even dish out six assists per game absent John Wall.
Eventually, John Wall will retire. Or his skills will be so diminished, that the Wizards are going to have to build around another player. There’s absolutely zero chance, barring any major setback like injury, that the central piece of a future Washington Wizards team is Bradley Beal.
So while some may be asking for the tank, one fantastic point for the other side is to keep that future superstar happy. And that might just be the most important thing.
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