Somehow J.J. Barea, a point guard for the Dallas Mavericks who has no direct connection to John Wall or Bradley Beal, set off a firestorm of criticism on Tuesday about the leadership of the Wizards' backcourt.
Barea told reporters in Dallas he doesn't think Wizards teammates like Wall and ESPN's Stephen A. Smith then furthered that story by saying both Wall and Beal have detractors within the Wizards' locker room. Smith said that there are teammates talking behind the backs of the Wizards All-Stars.
Once Barea and Smith sounded off, it became a thing. Fans wondered aloud on social media if there were irreparable fractures within the Wizards locker room and if something needed to be done.
The Wizards, of course, were coming off an embarrassing defeat against the Mavericks and these are the times when people usually pile on. That they did.
Wall and Beal were asked about the criticism following the announcement they both made the 2018 NBA All-Star team by NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. (video above)
"We embrace it. Nobody is more upset than we are in ourselves," Beal said. "The fans, the critics, writers; nobody is as upset as we are. We’re more upset in ourselves that 100 percent of the resposibility falls on our shoulders. We embrace that. We take it. We take it on the chin and we just keep it moving, man. We can’t pout about it or try to argue back with what other people say.
"At the end of the day we agree that we shouldn’t be where we are. But reality is reality, we’ve gotta do a better job at leading and playing, showing up for every game and making sure that our teammates are good to go and make sure that they are pulling their weight just as well as we’re leading."
"We know what we should be. That’s the most difficult thing for us," Wall added. "We’re a team that we know we should be a top two team in the East right now. We control our destiny from this point forward, where we want to be in a playoff spot, we definitely know what we’ve gotta do to win. It all starts with me and Brad. We hear certain things they are saying like ‘why are you doing this, why are you doing that?’ But we’re putting in a lot of work."
The Wizards have battled inconsistency this season to an extreme degree. They often lose to lesser teams and by significant margins. The Mavericks, who won the fourth-worst records in the NBA, beat them by 23 points.
Like Wall and Beal said, they know that shouldn't happen. It's up to them and the rest of the Wizards to figure out how to fix it.
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