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Bradley Beal remains 9th among East guards in third NBA All-Star voting returns

Bradley Beal remains 9th among East guards in third NBA All-Star voting returns

We're one week away from the finalization of the NBA All-Star teams, and based on the third returns, it doesn't look like Bradley Beal will make it as a starter. 

He's currently ninth in voting among Eastern Conference guards and remains 14th overall, behind players like Tacko Fall, Derrick Rose, Zach LaVine and Ben Simmons.

Beal has remained in ninth place for guards in every voting return, so it's unlikely to change before Jan. 23. The fan vote counts for half of the equation in deciding the starters, while media and the players account for the rest. 

Luckily for Beal, the fan vote does not determine All-Star reserves. Every head coach in the NBA not named Scott Brooks will be able to vote Beal in, and considering the season he's had leading a young Wizards team without John Wall, there's a very good chance he makes it that way. 

On the Wizards Talk Podcast, Bleacher Report's Howard Beck convinced Chris Miller that Beal should be a lock to make it as a reserve. We'll know for sure next week, but at this point, all signs are pointing to Beal making his third All-Star appearance.

Maybe next year the fans can vote him in as a starter. 

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Bradley Beal's comments criticizing Wizards' culture come at interesting time

Bradley Beal's comments criticizing Wizards' culture come at interesting time

Following the Wizards' 115-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, shooting guard Bradley Beal made comments to reporters that raised some eyebrows and brought roughly a thousand memes of him in a Miami Heat jersey out of the social media woodwork.

Though those particular dreams can continue hibernating, as Beal is not eligible to be traded until the offseason (so not by the Feb. deadline), what he said was noteworthy and interesting given the timing.

"I don’t like losing, so it's going to keep blowing up for me until we start winning and changing our culture," he said.

As for what that culture is missing, Beal replied: "Winning games. Have that winning attitude, winning habits."

The timing, in a sense, was odd because Beal is not fully healthy. He is still working his way back from injury, two injuries at the moment, and isn't playing his usual minutes. He and the Wizards are not whole.

Plus, these remarks come just five months after he signed a contract extension and committed to the Wizards' future. Many have pointed out he should have expected this, given the state of the Wizards' roster. It is literally what he signed up for.

But as the losses pile up, it is fair to wonder how Beal is handling everything. Clearly, he wants the team to be better than they are and doesn't believe they should lose to opponents like the Bulls.

As for the timing, maybe his comments were calculated with the trade deadline exactly three weeks away. Though most signs point to the Wizards having a quiet deadline, perhaps Beal wants them to add pieces and make a run at the playoffs. Despite their 13-27 overall record, they are technically only five games out of the postseason picture. 

Regardless, what Beal said was enough to wonder if a follow-up conversation will be warranted, whether general manager Tommy Sheppard or head coach Scott Brooks will approach Beal to get his thoughts in more detail. The organization is trying to improve its culture and, by most accounts, has laid a solid foundation for the future with that in mind. Beal essentially took a shot at the progress made so far.

Beal did not offer many specifics even when implored by reporters in Chicago. But perhaps he left a clue on Twitter hours after the game. He endorsed a quote from J.J. Redick that said "there are more guys concerned with getting a pregame fit on Instagram than they are worrying about the win and loss of a basketball game."

Beal is on a team full of young players who are active on social media, often posting pictures of their fashion at games. Perhaps it was coincidental timing, or that is indeed one of his qualms. Maybe he believes it says something about the big picture approach of some of his teammates.

No matter the particulars, Beal's gripes are a reminder the Wizards have more urgency in fixing their roster than most teams do in a rebuild. They have an unusually patient star, but he's only patient to a point.

Maybe it doesn't happen by the Feb. 6 deadline, but clearly Beal wants some help. That should at a base-level make for a very important summer.

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Get to know Wizards PF and active grad student Johnathan Williams III

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Get to know Wizards PF and active grad student Johnathan Williams III

WASHINGTON -- Johnathan Williams III wasn't able to walk at his college graduation because basketball got in the way, but he plans to make up for it.

The 6-foot-9 Wizards forward who rejoined the team over the weekend on a two-way contract is five classes away from earning his master's degree in organizational leadership. He is currently enrolled in online courses at Gonzaga University, where he earned his undergraduate business degree, but will have to go back to Spokane, Wash. in the offseason to finish.

"I just want to get it done. I don't want to start something and then leave it be," he told NBC Sports Washington.

Those dreams, plus his basketball career which has now brought him to Washington, make for a busy schedule. But Williams, whom teammates call 'JW3,' can handle the workload.

It fits his personality both on and off the court. He describes his basketball game as all about effort and energy. 

Williams is a blue collar player who takes pride in the less-heralded parts of the game.

"I run the court extremely hard, rebound and play defense. Everything else is just a bonus," he said.

Away from basketball, Williams has a wide range of interests. He likes real estate and may apply his degrees to the field when he someday retires.

Williams says he prays and reads the Bible every day. He is also a big movie buff and has gone to the theaters with Isaac Bonga, his teammate formerly with the Lakers and now the Wizards.

Bonga isn't the only Wizards player he has a history with. He also overlapped with Moe Wagner in L.A. They played together both for the Lakers in the NBA and their G-League affiliate.

And Williams goes even further back with rookie Rui Hachimura. When Hachimura arrived on campus at Gonzaga, Williams was his first roommate.

"His English has grown since the last time I saw him in college," Williams said. "He speaks fluent English now pretty well."

Williams said he took Hachimura under his wing and brought him to his brother's house not far from Gonzaga's campus. They cooked meals for Hachimura like steak and spaghetti.

"Just get him introduced to an American lifestyle," Williams said.

Before reuniting with Bonga, Wagner and Hachimura, Williams spent time overseas playing for Maccabi Rison LeZion in Israel. When he first got the call from the Wizards, he flew 16 hours from Israel to Detroit, MI to play the Pistons.

Now he's back in basketball's top league, hoping to stick around with his former and current teammates.

"We've been through the grind together," he said. "Being in the NBA, this is where everyone wants to be."

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