Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal’s greatest moments

Bradley Beal Washington Wizards (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal Washington Wizards (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Yes, it’s official: Bradley Beal is no longer a part of the Washington Wizards.

On Jun. 18, 2023, Beal was traded to the Phoenix Suns for a variety of assets, including Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, a handful of second-round picks, and two pick swaps.

Even though Beal requested the trade, he is still going to be a beloved figure in Washington D.C.

During his 11-year tenure with the Wizards, he had plenty of extraordinary moments. He was a three-time All-Star and became one of the best shooting guards in a league that featured scoring guards like DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and Klay Thompson.

Here are Beal’s best moments on the basketball court as a Wizard:

Jan. 4, 2013, vs. Brooklyn Nets

Beal was only a rookie when he hit his first clutch shot. With the Nets up 104-101 in the first overtime period, Beal caught an inbound pass from Jordan Crawford and hit a 3-pointer as time expired, forcing a second overtime. The Nets ended up winning that game but it was a great way for Beal to let the NBA world know he was here.

He finished with a then career-high 24 points.

Jan. 17, 2013, vs. Sacramento Kings

Beal knew in order to be successful in today’s league, he would have to be a great 3-point shooter. During a 95-94 loss to the Kings, he recorded a then career-high six 3-pointers. Unfortunately, he missed a running layup at the end of the game, which resulted in a defeat.

He finished with a game-high 26 points.

This game was one of the best games of Beal’s rookie season, in which he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting and made the All-Rookie first team.

Feb. 11, 2014, vs. Memphis Grizzlies

With his second year in the league, Beal finally got the hang of consistent scoring. He scored 37 points against the Grizzlies for his second 30-point game of the season.

“The past few games, I was too worried about my defender,” Beal said after the game. “As soon as I saw the first couple go in, it was a wrap after that. My confidence was high, and I just kept shooting the ball the same way every time. I was having fun.”

However, he missed a few critical shots down the stretch, allowing the Grizzlies to clinch a 92-89 victory.

In his sophomore season, his 3-point shooting got so much better that he was chosen to attend the Three-Point Shootout contest, making him the youngest player in the event at that time.

Dec. 10, 2014, vs. Orlando Magic

Despite missing the first nine games of the 2014-15 season due to surgery on his left wrist, he had arguably the biggest play of his career. With 0.8 seconds left in the game, the Wizards and Magic were tied at 89 apiece.

During a timeout, the Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman drew up a play to get Beal the ball. After the timeout, Andre Miller inbounded the ball to Beal via alley-oop. Beal executed by scoring the basket at the buzzer, stunning the Orlando crowd.

Nov. 21, 2016, vs. Phoenix Suns

The 2016-17 season was a career-defining year for Beal and it all started early in the year. After scoring 34 points against the Miami Heat, he recorded his second straight game of 30-plus points.

Going up against Devin Booker and the Suns, Beal scored a then career-high 42 points, 26 of them coming in the second half. After the game, Wizards’ coach Scott Brooks expressed his satisfaction with Beal’s improvement as a player.

“He can be one of the best two-way players in the league, and my job is to continue to push him to strive for greatness,” Brooks said. “It takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of inner drive and determination, but I think he has the ability to be that player.”

Dec. 16, 2016, vs. Detroit Pistons

What made this game so special wasn’t Beal’s 25 points; it was his 3-pointers. He only finished with two threes but those two pushed him to 501 career 3-pointers. He became only the third player in Wizards’ history to make 500 3-pointers, joining Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison.

At the end of the season, Beal was in elite company as the third 23 or younger player ever to average 23 or more points on 40 percent from beyond the arc, joining Kevin Durant and Vince Carter.

Nov. 20, 2017, vs. Milwaukee Bucks

This was another game where Beal broke a record only a few knew about at the time. He scored 23 points including a 7-0 run late in the third quarter to put the Wizards in a good position to win the game.

He also had two 3-pointers, making him the youngest player (24 at the time) in NBA history to reach 700 3-pointers.

Dec. 5, 2017, vs. Portland Trail Blazers

As many expected it would happen eventually, Beal registered his first 50-point game.

With John Wall sidelined, Beal took advantage and scored 51 points to give the Wizards a 106-92 victory against the Trail Blazers.

“You never go into a game thinking one of your best players or best guards in the league is going to get 50, but he has the ability to get high numbers when he’s aggressive,” Brooks said after the game. “We gave him space to work.”

It ended up being the most points scored by an opponent in Portland that season.

Oct. 20, 2018, vs. Toronto Raptors

All of Beal’s work from beyond the 3-point line finally paid dividends.

Even though the Wizards lost to Kyle Lowry and the Raptors, Beal scored 32 points while hitting six 3-pointers. Those 3-pointers helped him pass Arenas’ 868 3-pointers for the Wizards’ all-time record.

Feb. 23, 2020, vs. Chicago Bulls & Feb. 24, 2020, vs. Milwaukee Bucks

There is a very good reason why these two dates are next to each other.

On Feb. 23, Beal scored 53 points in a 126-117 loss to the Bulls. Even though they suffered the loss, Beal passed Jeff Malone’s 11,083 points to reach the second all-time spot on the Wizards’ scoring list.

He followed up that performance by scoring 55 points in another loss to the Bucks in overtime.

“I was just locked in and I just was having fun,” Beal said after the game. “Probably the most fun game I’ve ever played in.”

He became the first player in Wizards history with back-to-back 50-point games and the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2007.

Jan. 6, 2021, vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Despite a 141-136 loss to the 76ers, Beal scored a career-high 60 points, tying Arenas’ record set on Dec. 17, 2006. Displeased with the ending result, Beal voiced his thoughts which many pundits have echoed through the years.

“All my career highs have been in losses,” he said after the battle. “I don’t give a damn.”

Still, Beal was given respect for his hunger and his aggressive approach.

He may not have won a ton of awards during his time in Washington but he was arguably their all-time greatest scorer.

He finished with one hundred-and-forty 30-plus point games, thirty 40-plus point games, and five 50-plus point games. He is the Wizards’ all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 1,514 and second in total points scored with 15,391.

Regardless of how some critics may feel about the way he ended his Wizards tenure, he will always be admired by the true Washington Wizards fans.