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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