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Bradley Beal on signing extension with Wizards last year: 'I'm the franchise here'

Bradley Beal on signing extension with Wizards last year: 'I'm the franchise here'

Just before the 2019-2020 NBA season began, Wizards guard Bradley Beal opted to extend his career in Washington with a two-year, $72 million maximum contract that keeps him in the nation’s capital through at least the end of 2022 -- with a player option for the following year.

Before the extension, other teams across the league were reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old. But Beal never pushed for a trade, and opted to stay with the team that drafted him out of Florida in 2012.

In an appearance on Posted Up with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Beal explained his decision was deeper than money. Renewing his commitment to Washington, which he called his “second home,” was about the initial connection, his legacy and the chance for success with John Wall in the future.

“I respect the fact that they drafted me, that’s first and foremost,” Beal told Haynes. “Just being in one spot for your whole career, having your jersey in the rafter one day, being that important to an organization, those were all things that drew me.”

 

Last summer, Beal said he spoke with current and former NBA stars about his pending decision. He consulted Portland Trailblazers’ star guard Damian Lillard, who decided to stay with his original team with a supermax contract extension in June, and Ray Allen, who was loyal to the Milwaukee Bucks early in his career.

After those conversations, it was clear to him that staying in Washington was better than chasing rings through requesting a trade.

“Honestly, I thought that was kind of the easy way out,” Beal said. “It’ll feel more meaningful and powerful knowing that I grinded it out doing it in D.C. It’s pretty much my team, I’m the franchise here, so it was kind of destined for me to kind of mold it from here.”

Beal’s appearance on Haynes’ podcast comes one week after he expressed frustration following the Wizards’ 116-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls -- another defeat during a difficult season.

The guard addressed those comments that underscored his mounting frustration.

“I was mad that we lost. We lost a very winnable game. And granted, I’m a big part of it, the team’s a big part of it,” Beal said. “One thing I want everybody to understand is I’m not a guy that just shifts blame on his teammates.

“I want to win. And whatever that looks like, whatever it takes, let’s go out there and get it done.”

Washington’s losing season comes with Wall relegated to the role of a spectator, as the Wizards’ franchise point guard continues to recover from a ruptured achilles he suffered last February.

Without Wall on the floor this season, Beal has averaged 27.5 points and 6.3 assists in 36 games. But Beal knows his role will change whenever Wall returns.

“When he comes back, obviously, you know, the dynamic of our team chances. I won’t have the ball all the time,” Beal said. “He’s going to have the ball, he’s going to be able to make plays and, you know, create plays for us as he always does.”

As Beal looks forward to reuniting with his backcourt running mate, he also has an eye on how the duo can advance further than it did in the past.

“What can we do differently than we did in the past?” Beal pondered. “How can we grow from where we were a few years ago -- game seven against the Celtics -- to how can we take that next step?”

In discussing Beal’s legacy, Haynes asked the Wizards guard about maintaining loyalty versus winning a ring. Beal didn’t shy away from laying out his goals to win multiple rings, but he’s also cognizant that there’s no guarantee his legacy will include that.

“There’s plenty of guys who had great careers and didn’t get one. Granted, everybody wants one. I want one; I want multiple,” he said. “At the same time, you can’t live your life or I guess you can’t basically judge your career off of that because there’s no guarantee you’ll get one.”

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Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Sixty eight gamers' lives changed on Saturday night. 

One of those very lucky individuals was Jack Mascone, who was selected by Wizards District Gaming with the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. 

Wizards’ managing partner Ted Leonsis had a special message for the point guard from New York, who joins the Monumental Sports & Entertainment family. 

“On behalf of the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go we’d like to welcome JBM to the Monumental basketball family. Congratulations on your hard work paying off. We’re excited to have you run the District with us,” Leonsis said.

Wizards District Gaming also drafted small forward Justin Howell in the second round, No. 30 overall, small forward Antonio Newman, No. 37, and utility Brandon Richardson at No. 51 in the third round. 

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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