The Washington Wizards were a bad team to start the season, and things have only gotten worse with injuries and being the team that, thus far, has been hit hardest in terms of sheer number of positive COVID-19 tests. However, this isn’t exactly new territory for Washington, which for the past two seasons has gone 57-97 following five straight seasons at .500 or better.
Bradley Beal has carried the load these past two and a half seasons, as John Wall has dealt with various injuries (and then was dealt to Houston right before he returned) and the Wizards have failed to build a competent roster around the All-Star guard as he enters his prime. Beal recommitted to the Wizards in 2019 on a two-year max extension to quiet trade rumors, in hopes that the franchise would put things together and he could lead their path back to the playoffs. However, that has yet to happen, and the apparent frustration of Beal is not just understandable but justified, as the consistent losing has clearly taken a toll on him.
It hasn’t impacted what he does on the court, as he currently leads the NBA in scoring at 34.4 points per night (and that was before Wednesday’s 47-point outburst in New Orleans) a full four points clear of Kevin Durant, and is doing so on career-best efficiency, shooting 48.3 percent from the field. Those are preposterous numbers, particularly given the lack of help around him and, as such, the immense attention he receives from opposing defenses, but his monstrous output simply can’t push the Wizards over the hump.
On Wednesday, he had 47 points and six assists in a 124-106 loss to the scuffling Pelicans, as it was him and a rag-tag group that went to New Orleans — Garrison Mathews was the second-leading scorer for Washington with 15 off the bench.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 28, 2021
That performance in another loss gave Beal a special spot in dubious NBA history, breaking a tie with Walt Bellamy for the most consecutive losses when putting up 40 points.
Per @EliasSports: Bradley Beal has now lost 10 consecutive games where he's scored 40 or more points.
That's now the longest such streak in NBA history, stretching back to last season.
Beal was tied at 9 games with Walt Bellamy.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 28, 2021
Beal’s face on the bench — which, late game candids of Beal on the bench have become a go-to for producers of Wizards broadcasts — told the story, as did this tweet from his wife, Kamiah Adams-Beal.
Sick of it
— Kamiah Adams-Beal (@KamiahAdams) January 28, 2021
The trade rumors surrounding Beal have been rather constant for some time, and he has yet to indicate publicly that he wants out, although you’d be hard pressed at this point to find anyone who would blame him for such a proclamation. Still, one has to think that the phones will be ringing with serious and strong offers for the star guard as February rolls on and the March trade deadline approaches because the entire hoops world can see that he is a star withering away on an aimless team, tasked with a Sisyphean effort each night of trying to push the boulder that is the Wizards up a hill where the top can never be reached.