Bradley Beal, Stuck in NBA Purgatory

When John Wall tore his Achilles almost a year ago in a “home accident,” the Washington Wizards took a turn for the worst. This wasn’t the case for every aspect of the District’s squad, however. While the Wizards ended with only 32 wins and their worst record in five years, their starting shooting guard, Bradley Beal’s career began to blossom in Wall’s absence. Beal took the negatives that the Wizards were going through and turned them into positives, as he took over the role as their primary playmaker and turned himself into an elite scorer.

Since then Beal has only improved. In the 2019–2020 season Bradley Beal elevated his scoring ability to an all-NBA level. He is averaging a career-high 30.1 point per game while shooting 46% from the field. However, during this fantastic run, many believe he was snubbed when it came to the All-Star game, which he did not get voted into. This only added fuel to the fire. Beal dropped a career-high 53 points in a double-digit loss to the Chicago Bulls, and then followed it by once again elevating his career-high the following night. He dropped 55 against the Milwaukee Bucks and scored 22 points in the 4th quarter to lead his team back and force overtime. The Wizards went on to lose that battle too. Although Beal is putting up career numbers, he is not satisfied with the results, he spoke out on his performances claiming, “I’m a winner, so you can throw those 55 out with the last 53.”

Beal’s outstanding performances can’t go unnoticed, but is it his fault that he’s not turning these performances into wins and that he has got himself stuck in “NBA purgatory?” In today’s NBA, where players change teams every summer, Beal defied the status quo and signed a 2 year 72 million dollar extension with Washington, making it almost impossible for him to be traded for the foreseeable future. Washington’s front office has not made it easier for Beal either. They have provided him with a knock-down three-point shooter in Davis Bertans, a mediocre center in Thomas Bryant and a bunch of no-name G-Leaguers. Beal had every opportunity to request a trade and get out of Washington this past summer, but there is something to be said for sticking it out and staying put in Washington. Beal said, “I love D.C.; this is where I always wanted to be, and this is where I want to be for the rest of my career.”

Beal wants to stick it out and eventually bring one home for Washington D.C. He is in it for the long run, however, he is currently stuck in purgatory. Beal is awaiting the return of fellow star guard John Wall and the development of Thomas Bryant and emerging rookie Rui Hachimura to start contributing to the Wizards performances. Beal has stayed loyal to D.C. thus far, but their recent results would take a toll on anyone’s ego no matter how talented and tough they are. It will be interesting to see if Beal can stay true to his word and stick with the Wizards for years to come.

Sports writer at the Daily Emerald. Journalism student at the University of Oregon. NBA fan and writer.