WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hoped Bradley Beal's decision to sign a contract extension last week would send a message to the younger players on the team. According to second-year veteran Troy Brown Jr., it already has.
Brown, 20, said he was part of a group of players that cheered Beal when he arrived at the team's practice facility over the weekend, the day after news broke.
"I was happy," Brown said. "We just appreciate him."
Brown's biggest takeaways from Beal's new contract, which will keep him in Washington through at least the 2021-22 season, involved the commitment he has made. Even as a two-time All-Star in his prime, he is willing to see through what the Wizards are trying to build.
That helped bolster Brown's opinion of the Wizards as an organization.
"It's good to see guys like Brad stay home," Brown said. "Like he talked about, he got drafted here. It makes younger guys like me, Thomas [Bryant] and Rui [Hachimura] feel good about the city, just to see the leader of our team taking that extension when he does have other options."
Like Beal, Brown is a first round pick. The Wizards selected him 15th overall in the 2018 draft, six years after they took Beal with the third pick in 2012. Beal has been around long enough to know exactly what it takes to be a star player in the NBA.
Brown has paid close attention and believes Beal can help him and the other young players on the team find success in the league.
"He leads by example every day. He comes in, works hard and is very vocal. Even if he's not talking a lot in practice, he's going hard," Brown said.
"It's just one of those things where every time you know what you're going to get out of him. You don't really have to worry about Brad's effort or being a leader because he's going to do that every day."
What Beal has done is essentially say he's ready to be patient and help guide the Wizards through a transition period. While other NBA stars probably would have forced their way out of the situation he's in, Beal is laying down roots with confidence the team's new front office structure and philosophy will pay dividends down the road.
Beal has spoken about how he wants to build something new in Washington where the NBA franchise hasn't won 50 games or been to the conference finals since the 1970s. Brown has fallen in line, hoping to be part of a basketball renaissance in The District.
"We're all young guys in the league, but at the same time we understand the stuff that's going on with D.C. [with the Nationals, Capitals and Mystics]. It's not irrelevant to us. We want to make a name for the Wizards. I feel like with us, we take it more personal than other people do. We just want to turn this thing around," he said.
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