The Washington Wizards did not think things can get any worse during a six-game losing streak amidst trade rumors, but they also lost leading scorer Bradley Beal for the next four games due to a left wrist injury.
Beal underwent an MRI on his left wrist which revealed a ligament injury. The Wizards hope that rest will help heal his wrist, but Beal will be re-evaluated in a week.
In the meantime, the Wizards are desperate to end their current losing streak. The Wizards were one of the many surprise teams earlier this season along with the Cleveland Cavs. In mid-November, the Wizards were among the front runners in the Eastern Conference after an impressive 10-3 start. However, the Wizards are 13-24 since then including an ugly 6-12 stretch since Christmas.
The Wizards plummeted to the #12 seed in the Eastern Conference after a disastrous start to the new year, which has been plagued with trade rumors involving everyone including Beal. The latest rumor suggested the Indiana Pacers would acquire Beal in a blockbuster trade for Domantas Sabonis.
The Wizards are a long shot to win the 2022 NBA Championship at +30000 odds. They’re also +15000 odds to win the Southeast Division after sliding to fourth place.
Beal Slump: Trade Rumors and/or Wrist Injury?
At the start of the season, the future looked bright in DC after the Wizards traded Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Kuzma and KCP were valuable role players during the Lakers championship run in 2020. Harrell is a former Sixth Man of the Year winner with the LA Clippers.
Both Kuzma and Harrell found their groove with the Wizards. Kuzma is the team’s second-best scorer with 16.2 ppg and their best rebounder with 8.9 boards per game. Harrell is the Wizards’ third-best scorer (14.1 ppg) as their Sixth Man this season.
Beal averages 23.2 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game this season. He averaged 30-plus the last two years, including a career-high 31.3 ppg in 2020-21. Beal lost the NBA scoring title to Steph Curry during the final weekend of the season.
Beal averages eight points less than last season. Some of that drop off coincided with Kuzma and Harrell alleviating the scoring burden. However, his shooting percentages are down across the board. He’s shooting only 45.1% from the floor, 30% from 3-point range, and 83.3% from the free-throw lane. Beal’s 3-point shooting is at a career low, while his overall shooting is the worst in six seasons.
Beal is bogged down in a shooting slump. It’s probably the combination of Beal playing through his wrist injury and the incessant trade chatter. The NBA trade deadline is next week. He always said he wanted to stay in DC and finish his career with just one team. If he re-signs with the Wizards in the offseason, he can bank $241 million with a super-max contract. If he bounces, he can only secure a max contract worth $180 million.
On Deck: 76ers, Suns, Heat, Nets
The Wizards have eight games between now and the NBA All-Star Game. Six of those occur at home in DC. The Wizards also have just four games over the next 10 days, which gives them a perfect opportunity to rest Beal and his wrist injury. Unfortunately, all four opponents are playoff-bound teams including two of the hottest teams in the NBA right now.
The Wizards visit the Philadelphia 76ers (31-19) tonight before hosting a five-game homestand. They face the Phoenix Suns (41-9) on Saturday, the Miami Heat (32-20) next Monday, and the banged-up Brooklyn Nets (29-21) next Thursday.
The 76ers won five games in a row to move into the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Suns lost only one game in January, and they’ve been unstoppable during an 11-game winning streak.
The Wizards are fadeworthy as the worst betting team in the NBA with a 19-30-1 ATS record.