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Confident John Wall lays out specific end goal for Wizards' season

Confident John Wall lays out specific end goal for Wizards' season

When John Wall is asked a direct question, he often has no problem getting straight to the point. Many athletes will talk in platitudes and give non-answers, but that's not Wall's style. If you ask a question, he will answer it.

On Thursday night he appeared on TNT's 'Inside the NBA' and was asked a simple question by Shaquille O'Neal: "At the end of the year, where do you see the Wizards?"

Wall quickly replied: "I see ourselves getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. That's our goal."

That may have seemed unrealistic when the Wizards began the season 2-8, but now 25-20 on the year and owners of the fifth seed in the East, that doesn't seem too far-fetched at all. The Cleveland Cavaliers still reign supreme in the East, but there is no question the Wizards can stack up to the rest of their conference.

Getting to the Eastern Conference Finals would be quite the accomplishment. The Bullets/Wizards franchise hasn't been there since 1979. No Washington, D.C. major sports team (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB) has advanced that far since the Capitals lost in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998

[RELATED: Wall overcame obstacles to earn 4th All-Star nod]

Wall sat down with Shaq and the TNT crew for over seven minutes on Thursday after he was named an NBA All-Star for the fourth time in his career. The whole interview is worth checking out, but here are some other highlights...

On who was the biggest All-Star snub, Wall said: "Bradley Beal. He's having a heck of a year... Of all the shooting guards outside of DeMar DeRozan, he's putting up big numbers in the East."

On his central role in the animosity between the Wizards and Celtics: "A lot of guys aren't like [Shaq and Charles Barkley's] era. They're too friendly. I'm not saying they've gotta try to hurt anybody, but it can be a more physical game. Just go out there and compete. You can be friends outside of the lines, but when you step in between those 94 feet, you've gotta go out there and go get it."

Watch Wall's full interview here:

[RELATED: Wizards' Bradley Beal an NBA All-Star snub despite career numbers]

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Wizards 2018-19 end of season grades: Bradley Beal

Wizards 2018-19 end of season grades: Bradley Beal

Now that the dust has settled for the 2018-19 Wizards season, it's time to review the roster and hand out individual grades...

Who: Bradley Beal, shooting guard

2018-19 stats: 36.9 mpg, 25.6 ppg, 5.5 apg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.7 tov, 47.5 FG%, 35.1 3P% (2.5/7.3), 54.0 eFG%, 80.8 FT% (4.4/5.5), 113 ortg, 114 drtg

Best game: 1/13 vs. Raptors - 43 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, 6-12 3PT

Grade: A+

Season review: One could argue that nobody deserves a higher grade in the Wizards organization for their 2018-19 season than Bradley Beal, who had by far the best individual year of any player on the team. He had high expectations coming into the season and exceeded them, taking the next step from an All-Star to a legitimate All-NBA candidate.

Beal also continued to represent the organization well in public. He spoke for the team after many difficult losses with poise and maturity. And he brought positive attention to the franchise for his charitable efforts, recently being named as a finalist for the league's community assist award.

Beal's on-court performance was a shining light amid a disastrous season overall for the team. He set career-highs in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and free throw attempts. He played in all 82 games for the second straight season and never complained despite leading the NBA in minutes.

The most impressive part of Beal's season may be how he responded when John Wall went down due to injury. Wall last played on Dec. 26 and in the next 47 games, Beal averaged 27.2 points, 6.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals. 

Beal's final numbers put him in elite company. He became the first 25-5-5 player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. He was one of only six players to reach that mark this season, a list that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

Even as the season was winding down and the Wizards were well out of playoff contention, Beal gave an honest and consistent effort. That stood out in a year in which some of his teammates did not play hard and were called out by head coach Scott Brooks and team leaders for doing so. 

Now Beal, of course, had many reasons to keep giving 100 percent. With the numbers he has put up, he could make All-NBA in late May and, if he does, will qualify for a supermax contract. That could mean tens of millions more on his next deal, if he chooses to sign back with the Wizards.

As Beal looks ahead to this summer and next season, another question is how much better he can become. He took a significant step from the All-Star year he had in 2017-18. What if he makes another, similar leap?

Beal upped his scoring average by three points year-over-year. Another jump like that could put him in the MVP conversation, depending on how the Wizards finish in the standings.

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Why (and how) your NBA Cares Community Assist Award vote should go to Bradley Beal

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Why (and how) your NBA Cares Community Assist Award vote should go to Bradley Beal

Voting has officially begun for the season-long NBA Community Assist Award, and Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is a finalist. 

Chosen by fans and an NBA executive panel, the award honors a player’s strong commitment to positively impacting his community through sustained efforts over the course of the season.

In December, Beal visited Ron Brown College Preparatory High school in D.C. to give away two pairs of shoes to every member of the JV and varsity basketball teams.

It didn't stop there. Beal took his role as a mentor to the next level by checking in with the kids multiple times a month to make sure they are on the right track in both athletics and their academic studies.

Later on in February, Beal invited 10 students from RBHS on a private tour of the National African-American History and Culture Museum.

The seven-year NBA veteran also made a point to donate game tickets to community groups and toys to the Salvation Army during the holiday season. 

Here's some key information about the voting process: 

  1. Voting begins: Wednesday, April 24th at 12:01 p.m.
  2. Voting ends: Sunday, May 5th at 11:59 p.m.
  3. How does voting work? Through the above date range, every tweet posted using both of the hashtags #BradleyBeal and #NBACommunityAssist counts as one vote.
  4. Retweets of tweets using the above hashtags also count as one vote

This all comes following another All-Star season that saw the 25-year-old finish with career-highs in points (25.6), rebounds (5.0), and assists (5.5). He played in all 82 regular-season games. 

The winning player will receive $25,000 to their charity of choice, a donation from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.

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