Another bad beat for the Washington Wizards. The NBA’s second-best scorer, Bradley Beal, won’t join the Washington Wizards during the NBA restart in Orlando due to a nagging shoulder injury. The team hoped Beal’s shoulder would heal during the shutdown, but his pain increased.
The Wizards (24-40) decided it will be in Beal’s best interest to shut him down for the restart. The Wizards are the worst team among the 22 teams rejoining the NBA restart in Orlando. Before Beal’s decision, the Wizards were long shots to advance to the postseason with the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference. With Beal definitely a no-go with the shoulder injury, the Wiz’s chances grew even thinner.
The Wizards will be without their top two scorers after sharpshooter Davis Bertrans opted out last week.
“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play,” said Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard. “But after closely monitoring his individual workouts, we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury.
The team did not specify when Beal initially injured his shoulder, although he logged significant minutes this season. After Beal was omitted from the 2020 All-Star Team, he went off in the scoring department. Beal raised his scoring average to 30.5 ppg, second-best in the NBA to only James Harden.
“The layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing, and [we] agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision,” added Sheppard.
BB on Ice
Beal, 27, doesn’t want to take the surgical route, which is one of his motivating factors to skip the restart.
“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” said Beal via an official statement. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization, and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made.”
Beal carried the team all season without John Wall in the lineup. Beal, who played second-fiddle to Wall, found himself the main focal point of the Wizards when Wall went down with an Achilles injury. Wall missed the entire season while recovering from surgery.
Beal and Wall butted heads numerous times on the court and via social media shade. However, the two apparently grew close during the lockdown and quarantine. Both Wall and Beal were spotted marching together at various Black Lives Matter demonstrations. They both took it upon themselves to become more vocal leaders in their community.
Beal found himself mentioned in multiple trade rumors. As one NBA beat writer summed it up best, “the vultures are circling DC.”
The Brooklyn Nets want to bring Beal to NYC as a third big gun with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are also seeking Beal’s services to join a power trio with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Even the New York Knicks were linked with Beal, but that notion was quickly dismissed as a weak-ass attempt by James Dolan to boost sluggish sales for next year’s season tickets.