ESPN commentator Stephen A Smith is not afraid to call you out if your team’s performance doesn’t match his expectations. He picked the Wizards as the biggest threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, but after an underwhelming first half of the season, he’s named them the biggest disappointment of the NBA season so far this season.
Smith lit into the team during a First Take segment on Thursday, following the team’s disappointing loss to the Jazz the night before.
YOU think you have arrived. What the hell has the Washington Wizards done to think they have arrived? Listen, I was in Atlanta to see them, got nothing but love for the brothers, I root for them, I picked them to go to the conference finals last year. I was hoping they would do something this year. Y’ALL RIGHT NOW ARE LOOKING LIKE STRAIGHT GARBAGE.”
Smith then turned his attention to Bradley Beal. While the shooting guard has impressed this season, and fresh off of winning Player of The Week for the Eastern Conference, he has severely struggled in clutch situations. Wednesday night was a prime example. Washington had a chance to tie with 7.6 seconds left to play. After catching the inbounds pass, Beal got caught in the air looking to pass out of a three as the Wizards couldn’t get up a final shot.
“How the hell does that happen if you’re Bradley Beal? And oh by the way, this is a guy that I walked up to in Atlanta and I’m thinking ‘All-Star, All-Star, All-Star,’ and then I watch the next few games and some of my peeps remind me, ‘Hey, he ain’t clutch.’ So I took the liberty of going to the research department. Let me look at Bradley Beal here. Bradley Beal clutch stats: 2.8 points, 29th in the league, 30.2 percent shooting, 21.1 percent from three-point range, and 67 percent — a shooter! — 67 percent from the free throw line.”
John Wall also caught Smith’s ire. Wall and Beal are a combined 6-for-26 from the field in the fourth quarter of the last two games against the Jazz and Bucks. Not only did Smith get on the pair for their inefficiency in the fourth, but he suggested Scott Brooks find touches for Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre.
“Let me tell you something: [Beal] and John Wall are big time. Y’all ain’t playing like it when it counts. Scott Brooks, you’re the main culprit, and I love Scott Brooks. Damn good coach. Damnit, I want greatness! Not good, greatness! Could you call some plays for Otto Porter, who’s your best shooter, shooting 45 percent from three-point range. Could you call some plays for Otto Porter? Oubre — could you get him more involved? And last point, Bradley Beal and John Wall, I’m going to put it on Front Street: there’s something about their relationship that ain’t right. I can just see it. Get it together, Wizards. Get it together. You’re too good for this.”
This isn’t anything new for Smith to express his frustration with Washington. After the team came up short against the Los Angeles Lakers during a game in October, Smith lit into the team, especially Wall whose play (18 points, 7-of-22 from the field) didn’t match his mouth against the hype against Lonzo Ball.