Bradley Beal beginning to assume leadership role

Rob Carr

The rookie has shown in recent games a willingness to demand better effort from his teammates and back it up with his play on the court.

Washington Wizards rookie Bradley Beal took another important step in his development last week at the end of a 96-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors, when with his team down six with 21 seconds to play, Beal found himself all alone trying to trap a Raptors inbounds pass.

As reported by Michael Lee of The Washington Post, the rook was none too pleased with his teammates during an ensuring timeout, and he let them know it.

"I'm not saying my teammates quit, but we still had an opportunity to win," Beal said, explaining the situation a few days later. "If we had that trap, who knows what's going to happen? The game is never over. That's what I was kind of upset about."

Beal's frustration, and his willingness to call out his teammates and hold them accountable, did not go unnoticed, particularly given his heretofore quiet nature, per Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner:

"The last two months, I've just been seeing him grow as a player and as a person each and every day -- a 19-year-old came in and didn't really talk that much to a couple games ago leading a timeout," Wizards guard A.J. Price said. "That's just huge growth from him."

...

"It was a huge step for him, I think," Price said. "That was the first time. I told his brother, actually, 'I think he grew up a lot tonight.' For him to do that, that was big because he's so quiet by nature."

Wizards Coach Randy Wittman was also pleased to see his rookie guard expect more from his veteran teammates.

"He's a competitive kid, and I want our guys to -- call it what you may -- challenge each other," Wittman said. "And then on the flip side of it be able to handle that. If I get on your tail because you're not playing hard enough, play harder and not take it personally."

Still, Beal's growth as a leader doesn't exempt from traditional rookie hazing, as Martell Webster made clear during Beal's postgame interview with media members following Saturday's 105-103 win over the Houston Rockets (courtesy of Wizards Extreme).

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