As the Wizards lost starting point guard John Wall to injury last season, Bradley Beal had to step up in more ways than one.
The guard led Washington in points per game (25.6) and field goals (9.3), ranked second in assists per game (5.5) and third in free throw percentage (80.8%).
Once the Wizards were out of playoff content, head coach Scott Brooks offered to let #3 rest for the last few weeks of the regular season like many other franchise stars have begun to do more frequently. Beal being Beal, however, would not take Brooks up on that.
On The Crossover Podcast with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Coach Brooks shared how this went down with the Wizards star, affectionately nicknamed Big Panda by his teammates and fans.
I mean, we were going nowhere at the end of the season pretty fast. And I’m like, ‘Brad, you know what, I appreciate everything you’ve given me the last couple of years. And this year we’re not making the playoffs, we’re out. You want to like chill out the last couple of weeks and rest? And he said, ‘You know what, I signed up to be the leader of this team and do it every night.’ And he wanted to do that, and he wanted to play every game and that’s why he played for two years in a row already too.
It should mean a lot to Wizards fans in today's era that Beal was committed to playing the season outright, even with a formal invitation from his head coach to rest for his own reward.
Beal has played the full 82 games in the last two regular seasons, and the Wizards offered Beal a three-year, $111 million max extension this summer, as expected. He has not signed it yet, likely waiting to see if he would make All-NBA to up the maximum amount Washington can offer to $250 million.
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