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Bradley Beal won't let Ted Leonsis take the blame for Wizards missing the playoffs

Bradley Beal won't let Ted Leonsis take the blame for Wizards missing the playoffs

With the Washington Wizards now officially eliminated from playoff contention, the conversation switches to trying answer a simple yet complex question: "What went wrong, and who was to blame?"

Earlier this week in a sit-down interview with NBC Sports Washington's Rob Carlin, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis put the blamed himself for the team's struggles.

"And for me, my higher calling - I've let people down this year with the Wizards. I want every one of our teams to make the playoffs and win a championship," Leonsis said in the interview.

On Friday night following a loss to the Utah Jazz, Wizards star Bradley Beal made it clear that he won't be letting the owner take all the flack as the team prepares to miss out on the playoffs for the first time in the three seasons.

"He's not playing, so I can't sit here and just allow him to take all the credit for it," Beal told NBC Sports Washington.

"We can just continue to move forward, continue to get better," Beal added. "But it's not just on him, it's on everybody."

Though Beal probably doesn't deserve much of the blame, as the All-Star is having a career year and has consistently willed the team to victories throughout the season, he will not let one person carry the weight of the season. 

The Wizards shooting guard went on to discuss the season as a whole, explaining that he felt the pieces Leonsis and management put together were enough for the team to make a run at the playoffs.

"I felt like we still had enough to get in, regardless of the moves we made, guys being out," Beal said. "I felt like we had enough to be able to get there, we fell up short."

Regardless of what caused the difficult season, Leonsis and Beal are both now shifting their focus toward building for the future. The Wizards owner dreams of bringing an NBA Championship back to D.C. by applying lessons learned from the success of the Washington Capitals, and Beal is excited to see which direction the team heads in moving forward.

"We can always get better, but the offseason will be definitely big for us," Beal stated. "In terms of where we go, our system and how things look in the future."


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Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

As the NBA regular season approaches, the Washington Wizards seek to finalize their roster.

The Wizards announced on Wednesday that they have waived Phil Booth, Justin Anderson and Jemerrio Jones. The team also signed 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks and small forward Jalen Jones, the team announced.

Pasecniks and Jones were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, meaning that if they are waived, they will have the opportunity to play for the Go-Go, the Wizards' G-League affiliate. Booth was on an Exhibit 10 deal, so he will report to the Go-Go after being waived.

Pasecniks, a 7-foot center from Latvia, was the 25th overall selection from the 2017 draft. The Orlando Magic drafted him and moved him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for draft picks. The 76ers renounced his rights in June.

Pasecniks played on the Wizards summer league team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. Jalen Jones has averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc in 32 games over two seasons with three teams.


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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.