Wizards

Quick Links

Bradley Beal sought advice from Ray Allen on leading the Wizards rebuild

Bradley Beal sought advice from Ray Allen on leading the Wizards rebuild

Bradley Beal was in line to be the next NBA superstar to change teams.

His contract was up after next season and if he declined the Wizards' offer on an extension, it'd be time for Washington to ship him elsewhere. But then Beal agreed to a two-year, $72 million deal to remain in DC, giving the Wizards more time to build a contender around him and John Wall. 

The decision shocked plenty of NBA talking heads. The player empowerment era that began when LeBron James formed a Big Three in Miami built up to an unprecedented amount of movement during this summer's free agency period. What was Beal thinking potentially wasting his prime on a lottery team?

As a guest on the Woj Pod with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Beal opened up on his decision-making process and how he went to future Hall of Famer Ray Allen for advice. 

"I talked to Ray Allen during the summer," Beal said. "He was in Milwaukee and Seattle and those years were rugged you know, they weren't always great but he was one of the best players and he was always making sure those teams were in the playoffs or making some type of noise.

"He was like, 'Ultimately it's your decision. The only person that can make Brad happy is Brad, and you have to what's best for you,'" Beal said. 

Allen spent a little over six seasons with the Bucks to start his career and then over four seasons with the Supersonics. He was a seven-time All-Star, went All-NBA twice, but made the playoffs just four times over that 10-year span. 

It wasn't until Allen's age-32 season with the Celtics where Allen finally won a championship. It's not the career path many superstars are interested in nowadays, but Beal seems ready to make the most of the hand he's been dealt in Washington. 

"It was kind of a no-brainer, just duke it out and make it work," Beal said. "My leadership has to grow, it's kind of growing every day, but I feel like I have a natural knack for it.

"You can't think about, 'Is the grass greener on the other side? Are we not going to be as good here?' You can't necessarily think in those terms because you can always play 'Devil's Advocate' on the other side, so for me, it's just sticking to your guns."

Wall is most likely out for the remainder of the season and the Wizards are off to a less-than-inspiring 2-7 start this season, but Beal is ready for the challenge.

With Rui Hachimura finding his own and Tommy Sheppard making shrewd moves along the margins in the front office, Wizards fans can feel good about the direction of their franchise now that Beal is locked up for the next three seasons. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

WATCH: Rui Hachimura throws down a vicious dunk and lets the Heat know it

WATCH: Rui Hachimura throws down a vicious dunk and lets the Heat know it

Rui Hachimura is one of the more soft-spoken players on the Wizards, but you wouldn't be able to collect that from his highlight dunk Friday night in Miami. 

Early in the second quarter while the Wizards were riding the momentum from their win over Philadelphia the night before, Hachimura threw down a loud one-handed slam to give them a 12-point lead. 

Then he let out a scream to let the entire arena know what they just witnessed. 

Hachimura has struggled most of the year with finishing through contact inside. Over the last two weeks, he's had the two best games of his career against the Clippers (30 points) and Sixers (27) due in large part to the rookie playing with more physicality offensively. 

The Wizards have to like what they've seen out of Hachimura already this season, and these kinds of incremental growths are all you can really ask for from a first-round pick. 

Hachimura seemed to hit a wall two weeks ago, but he adjusted tried playing with more physicality and it's paying off for him. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Jimmy Butler dominates as Wizards' valiant effort in Miami falls short

Jimmy Butler dominates as Wizards' valiant effort in Miami falls short

It would've been easy for the Wizards to rest on the excitement of Thursday night's win over the Sixers and phone it in against the Heat before a Friday night in Miami. 

But they didn't, and while they didn't come up with the win, the Wizards showed resolve and grit against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. 

Here are the top takeaways from the 112-103 loss. 

Wizards forced to use their depth

Coming into the game the Wizards were already down CJ Miles, Jordan McRae and Thomas Bryant with long-term injuries, but then Ian Mahinmi was scratched so he didn't have to play a back-to-back and Isaiah Thomas was ruled out with the same calf injury that kept him on the sidelines against Philly. 

So Scott Brooks reached deep down his bench and deployed some lineup combinations he's rarely had to go with this year. Moe Wagner and Ish Smith got the start alongside Bradley Beal Isaac Bonga and Rui Hachimura while Davis Bertans, Troy Brown and Chris Chiozza were his top reserves. 

At one point, the Wizards fielding a lineup of Chiozza-Brown-Bertans-Bonga-Schofield. Per Cleaning the Glass, those five players have yet to share the court together this season. 

But the Wizards played well. They weren't flat on the second night of a back-to-back, which many would have expected coming off such a great win at home the night before, and they matched the intensity of a consistently hard-playing Heat team for most of the game. 

That's a sign of good culture, which is something the franchise has prioritized in a rebuilding year. I'd be excited to see how they handle the Clippers at home after getting their doors blown off in LA not too long ago. 

Bertans' trade value keeps growing

Davis Bertans showed out on the big stage against the Sixers Thursday and continued his hot streak from deep in Miami. He finished with 19 points, going 5-13 from three, and it's clear defenses are insanely worried about him coming off screens. 

With an expiring $7 million deal, Bertans is a prime trade target for contenders who need bench scoring and floor spacing. 

Before the year it would have been blasphemous for the Wizards to get a first-round pick for Bertans, but now? I'd be surprised if they don't get at least one for him if they wish to deal him. 

An elite uniform night

It's "City Edition" season in the NBA and the Wizards and Heat brought it Friday night. 

The Wizards went with the "Stars and Stripes" for the second night in a row, while the Heat sported another iteration of their famous "Miami Vice" jerseys. 

I move for both uniform combinations to be made permanent additions for years to come. 

Rui Hachimura vs Herro and Nunn

This game featured three of the best rookies the game has had to offer in Rui Hachimura, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. Herro turned in the best game by a healthy margin with 22 points, but Hachimura proved he's at a similar level as those two standouts. 

The ninth overall pick turned in another solid line with 14 points, six rebounds and a loud dunk

Hachimura seemed to hit a wall two weeks ago but is now back to showing key improvements in every game. 

The Wizards have to be thrilled with what they've seen so far out of the rookie and it's exciting to think about his upside on both ends of the floor running alongside Beal and John Wall. 

No answers for Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo may be one of the most versatile centers in NBA history. 

He has unreal foot speed and instincts on defense that allows him to guard just about everyone on the floor, and his ball-handling on offense is unprecedented for such a young big man. 

On Friday, the Wizards' shaky paint defense had next to no answers for Adebayo, who ended up with 24 points and 13 rebounds on 10-16 shooting. 

The good news for the Wizards is there aren't many players like Adebayo in the league today, but at some point, they're going to have to figure out how to defend the paint. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: