The Washington Wizards have been the worst team in the league in the last decade next to the Charlotte Bobcats–a franchise built from scrap. The Wizards have been the at the end of many jokes. They’ve been called the Washington Generals on national television. This is the same franchise that put up with Andre Blatche for years. They’ve been the bottom feeders of the league, but for the first time in years, they’ve got something to look forward to.
Apart of that something is Bradley Beal, one of the up and coming shooting guards in a league where they come few and far between. Though Beal is out for the season with a stress injury in his right fibula, Beal is showing Washington fans things that they haven’t seen before.
Bradley Beal played through injuries for much of the latter part of his rookie season. He will finish this rookie campaign with only 56 games played and 46 games started. He scored 13.1 points per game on 41% shooting from the field and 38% shooting from beyond the arch. In January and February, Beal markedly improved his shooting going 44% and 48% from the field in those months respectively.
However, he missed games in those same months with injuries to a wrist, his ankles, and now in April he’ll face a brand new challenge going into the offseason with this stress injury.
However, Beal is showing responsibility and accountability when it comes to these things. He knows that he has to improve as a player and he knows that he shouldn’t have rushed back to play on his ankle when he knew it was hurting. He believes that his actions probably lead to this new, more severe, injury that he’ll have to fight through now. Now, he’ll sit out for the rest of the season and hope to come back in November as a brand new player in a brand new year.
Here’s what Beal had to say when he was asked about his injuries:
“Should I have [kept on playing]? No,” Beal said. “But I was going to play regardless. Because I’m a hard-headed kid. But that’s how I am. I’m always competitive. If I feel as if it’s to a point that I can play through it, I’m going to play regardless of what the injury is, but this is something that me and the trainers agreed on, that you can’t just take the risk on it, making it worse.”
– via the Washington Examiner
He goes on to say how proud he is of how he performed this season and how he continued to get better. That’s all that Wizards fans could ask for from Beal. In the past, they’ve seen athletes but the blame squarely on others as opposed to looking at themselves for the answers. Beal seems to be mature enough to know that he’s still got room for improvement. He knows not to go out and try to play on this stress injury because of what could happen. He’s just going to prepare himself for next season and try to keep getting better and better until the Wizards are eventually in the playoff hunt.
With what Washington fans have seen from past players, I’m sure they’re more than satisfied with Beal. The organization as a whole seems to be taking another step into becoming relevant. The culture that has stunk up Washington for years has now become the culture that was. Winning is going to be at a premium for this organization over the next few years and Washington fans should be excited.