No. 1: Bradley Beal
The greatest shooting guard in Washington Wizards history is still creating his story, just on another team, sadly.
Bradley Beal was recently traded to the Phoenix Suns via trade request but his time and contributions to the Wizards’ franchise will forever go unquestioned.
Beal was selected by the Wizards as the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. His rookie year was a preview of what his career as a scorer would pan out to be.
He started out slowly, as every rookie usually does. But near the end of 2012, he started increasing his value to the team. In the month of December, he averaged 13 points and followed it up by averaging 15 points in January.
Beal’s scoring outlets led to him winning Rookie of the Month in both months.
On Jan. 4, 2013, he scored a then career-high 24 points against the Brooklyn Nets and hit a clutch 3-pointer to send it into a second overtime. However, the Nets defeated them 115-113.
He also wanted to show people he could be a threat from beyond the arc. On Jan. 17, 2013, he hit a then career-high six 3-pointers against the Sacramento Kings.
Unfortunately, he was forced to miss the remainder of the season due to a right leg injury. Still, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and finished just third in Rookie of the Year voting, behind Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis.
Beal lifted his scoring bar higher the following year.
In the 2013-14 season, he averaged 17 points and shot 40 percent from 3-point range. His 3-point shooting was so impressive that he was called to the All-Star Weekend’s Foot Locker Three-Pointer Contest, which he finished as the runner-up behind San Antonio Spurs’ Marco Belinelli.
He had another career game this season, as well. On Feb. 11, 2014, he scored a then career-high 37 points in a 92-89 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Beal helped the Wizards make the playoffs that year, the first time since 2008. He led them in scoring in those playoffs, averaging 19 points in the first round against Chicago Bulls. They advanced to the second round for the first time since 2005 but lost to the Indiana Pacers.
After missing the first nine games of the 2014-15 season, he returned in a big way. He scored a team-high 21 points in his first game back while playing just 26 minutes.
Beal, once again, came up clutch. On Dec. 10, 2014, the Wizards were going up against the Orlando Magic. While tied at 89, he finished a game-winning alley-oop inbound pass from Andre Miller to give the Wizards the victory.
Once the playoffs came around, Beal continued to shine. In Game 4 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks, he scored a then playoff career-high 34 points. However, the Wizards lost the series.
The 2016-17 season was a breakout year for him as he set numerous records.
During the season, Beal recorded a total of nine 30-point games and four 40-point ones. He also had two career games in November.
On Nov. 21, 2016, he scored 42 points in a 106-101 victory against the Phoenix Suns. Seven days later, he hit a then career-high seven 3-pointers as the Wizards defeated the Sacramento Kings.
Starting in December, Beal started breaking records.
On Dec. 16, 2016, he hit two 3-pointers in a 122-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons. He became the third player in Wizards’ history to make 500 3-pointers, joining Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison.
In March, Beal broke his biggest record of the season.
On Mar. 29, 2017, he knocked down five 3-pointers in a 133-124 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. However, he surpassed Arenas for the Wizards’ single-season 3-point record.
Beal finished that season with a total of 223 3-pointers. He also joined Kevin Durant and Vince Carter as the only three players in NBA history 23 years old or younger to average at least 23 points while shooting over 40 percent from the 3-point line.
The scoring rampage didn’t halt there.
In Game 6 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, he scored 33 points to force a Game 7 back in Boston. Even though the Wizards lost that game, he had another 30-point outing with 38 points.
During the 2017-18 season, Beal made his first All-Star team while averaging 22 points.
On Nov. 20, 2017, he scored 23 points and two 3-pointers in a 99-88 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. With those 3-pointers, he became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 700 3-pointers.
His best month came in December.
On Dec. 5, 2017, Beal scored a then career-high 51 points in a 106-92 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Included in that performance was five 3-pointers and a career-high 21 field goals.
During a 114-110 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 31, 2017, he scored 39 points while logging 17 of them in the fourth quarter.
Beal was ultimately named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the games played between Dec. 25-31.
At the end of the season, Beal had a total of 1,857 points. It made him the 21st Wizards player to have a 1,800-point season.
In Game 4 of the 2018 Eastern Conference first round against the Toronto Raptors, he scored 31 points in an effort to tie the series up. Despite his 32 points, they lost Game 6 and the series.
The following season was nothing short of amazing for the Wizards legend
In just the second game of the season, he hit six 3-pointers against the Raptors, passing Arenas for the Wizards’ all-time 3-point record. On Nov. 14, he hit his 900th 3-pointer to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 threes.
In December, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the games between Dec. 3-9. But his biggest performance was on Dec. 22. He recorded his first career triple-double with 40 points, a career-high 15 assists and 11 rebounds.
On Jan. 13, he had his second triple-double. He also joined legend Oscar Robertson as the only players in history with multiple games of 40 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds in a season.
He finished the season with 2,099 points, 411 rebounds and 448 assists, becoming the first player in Wizards history to have such numbers in a season.
On Oct. 17, 2019, Beal signed a two-year contract extension worth a maximum of $72 million. He lived up to the contract…somewhat.
He averaged 30-plus points for two straight seasons, starting with 30 points in the 2019-20 season. On Feb. 23, he scored a then career-high 53 points against the Bulls. He also passed Jeff Malone for second on the Wizards’ all-time scoring list.
Beal surpassed it the very next day.
On Feb. 24, he registered 55 points in a 137-134 overtime loss against the Bucks. What made this streak so much was that he became the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2007 to have 50-point games on consecutive nights.
Before being dealt injuries the past two years, Beal averaged a career-high 31 points in the 2020-21 season. It was also this season he had his biggest game.
On Jan. 6, 2021, he logged in a career-high 60 points in a 141-136 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. It ended up tying Arenas’ record set in 2006.
Beal’s last two seasons with the Wizards were constantly hampered by injuries. He still averaged 23 points each season but played in just 90 of the possible 164 games.
Beal ended his 11 years with the Wizards ranked second on their all-time scoring list with 15,391 points. He is also No. 3 in assists with 2,972 and No. 2 in steals with 772. As for the 3-point section, he is still No. 1.
It’s undetermined if Beal will ever make a return to D.C. but just these accomplistments alone earned him the top spot on this list.