There are plenty of reasons why the Washington Wizards might just want to take this season as a tax write off. They stumbled out of the gate, getting off to an inauspicious 2-8 start, and despite showing intermittent signs of life, they’ve struggled with inconsistency, malaise, in-fighting, injuries, and more.
Last week, the team announced that John Wall would have to undergo season-ending heel surgery, which seemed to signal a death knell for any postseason hopes they may have still harbored. Given that bleak reality, their best course of action would be to steer toward the lottery and set their sights on the future.
But Bradley Beal refuses to give himself over to the darkness. At 17-25 and 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, the former All-Star shooting guard is adamant that the season is still salvageable, and not just purely from a growth mindset and a spirit of competitiveness.
“I think you could kind of say we stayed in that funk, from last year to this year. But we keep saying, ‘We can turn it around.’ And I firmly believe that,” Beal said, noting that the Wizards are three games out of a playoff spot. “But we’ve still got a long way to go. Keeping guys together, keeping us with positive spirits. That’s what we have to do. It’s not going to be easy. It’s tough. But we’ve got the guys in here who can do it. I put my faith and trust in myself and my teammates to do it.”
And Beal’s play of late should offer plenty of inspiration. He’s been one of the best clutch performers in the league this season in the fourth quarter, and that was on full display Wednesday night in a win over the Sixers when he scored 14 straight points in the final period to help seal a 123-106 victory.
Still, Beal’s name has emerged in trade rumors recently, with various reports claiming that the organization had engaged in talks with both Charlotte and Minnesota; however, Beal for his part has vehemently denied accusations that he’s demanded a trade from Washington.
Just how far the Wizards can go will largely hinge on Beal’s efforts, and it will be an uphill climb from now until the end of the season. The good news for Washington is that their defacto best player seems more than eager for the task at hand.