Money makes the world go round. But the legendary rapper Notorious B.I.G said it more simply: “Mo Money, Mo Problems”. I guess it’s a matter of perspective.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal may be living the lyrics. How else to interpret a player who signed a maximum salary extension just four months ago, got snubbed for the All-Star game, and scored 50+ points in back-to-back losses? Was he right to stay? Maybe, but the problems sure have poured in.
If you don’t recall, Beal did sign a two-year extension while still on his current five-year max deal to stay with the Wizards. Since then, the Wizards haven’t been much of a topic of conversation, but Beal has.
Before the All-Star break, Beal was fifth in scoring, but wasn’t selected for the All-Star roster. Perhaps it was Beal’s lackluster defense, perhaps the team’s poor overall performance, but whatever the reason, the team’s losing ways surely didn’t help. Still, defense usually isn’t much of a consideration in All-Star games, and being a top-shelf scorer typically gets acknowledged in All-Star selections. By the way, his post-break scoring binge has him up to second.
Since January 20 he’s scored 25+ points for 16 straight games, including career-high nights against the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks — both losses. Against the Bulls, Beal had a then-career high 53 points and moved up to second on the franchise’s scoring list. A day later he scored 55 points in an overtime loss to the Bucks topping his previously recorded career-high.
Those were hard losses for a player performing that well — the issue was the scant help from teammates in each of those games.
Let’s look back for a moment:
Wizards @ Bulls
Leading Scorer: Beal (53 points)
Second Leading Scorer: Davis Bertans (22 points off the bench)
Third Leading Scorer: Rui Hachimura and Ish Smith (10 points)
Wizards vs. Bucks
Leading Scorer: Bradley Beal (55 points)
Second Leading Scorer: Shabazz Napier (27 points off the bench)
Third Leading Scorer: Ish Smith (13 points)
Some help came from the bench, but where are the other starters? The lack of consistent production from the first unit is a problem. While no one picked the Wizards to reach the playoffs, effort is the minimum Beal and fans should expect.
So, based on all that, did Beal make the right choice to stay? Probably not.
But if we fast-forward to this past Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets, help was definitely given and the unnecessary pressure was taken off him as well. In the game, Beal scored 30 points, but had help from Hachimura and Bertans who combined for 31 points. A clutch three-pointer and free-throws happened, but not by Bradley Beal, but instead by Jerome Robinson. Why is that? Because Beal trusts his teammates and he made that clear right after the game.
In addition, Beal’s decision wasn’t about the 2019-20 season. His choice to remain was about the next several years, and likely included non-basketball factors such as where he wants to live and raise his growing family. While it’s sometimes easy to forget, NBA players are very human and they make decisions using the same kinds of criteria we all do. Money and professional success matters, but so do other factors.
In the final analysis, whatever fans may think, it was Beal’s choice to stay put and remain “loyal” (as some would call it) to the Wizards. And let’s be honest here, he’d have taken heavy criticism if he’d forced a trade to another squad in chase of a “super team” to win a title. Even his fiancé Kamiah Adams believes that no one truly would’ve been happy regardless of what decision was made.
Louder for the people in the back. You remain loyal and re sign, “YoU kNeW wHaT yOu wErE sIgNing uP fOr” you leave and jump ship for a better situation then you a sell out & bandwagon. Pick a side, damn. https://t.co/WYZkBYBffG— Kamiah Adams (@KamiahAdams) February 25, 2020
Did Beal make the right choice?