Following the Wizards' 115-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, shooting guard Bradley Beal made comments to reporters that raised some eyebrows and brought roughly a thousand memes of him in a Miami Heat jersey out of the social media woodwork.
Though those particular dreams can continue hibernating, as Beal is not eligible to be traded until the offseason (so not by the Feb. deadline), what he said was noteworthy and interesting given the timing.
"I don't like losing, so it's going to keep blowing up for me until we start winning and changing our culture," he said.
As for what that culture is missing, Beal replied: "Winning games. Have that winning attitude, winning habits."
The timing, in a sense, was odd because Beal is not fully healthy. He is still working his way back from injury, two injuries at the moment, and isn't playing his usual minutes. He and the Wizards are not whole.
Plus, these remarks come just five months after he signed a contract extension and committed to the Wizards' future. Many have pointed out he should have expected this, given the state of the Wizards' roster. It is literally what he signed up for.
But as the losses pile up, it is fair to wonder how Beal is handling everything. Clearly, he wants the team to be better than they are and doesn't believe they should lose to opponents like the Bulls.
As for the timing, maybe his comments were calculated with the trade deadline exactly three weeks away. Though most signs point to the Wizards having a quiet deadline, perhaps Beal wants them to add pieces and make a run at the playoffs. Despite their 13-27 overall record, they are technically only five games out of the postseason picture.
Regardless, what Beal said was enough to wonder if a follow-up conversation will be warranted, whether general manager Tommy Sheppard or head coach Scott Brooks will approach Beal to get his thoughts in more detail. The organization is trying to improve its culture and, by most accounts, has laid a solid foundation for the future with that in mind. Beal essentially took a shot at the progress made so far.
Beal did not offer many specifics even when implored by reporters in Chicago. But perhaps he left a clue on Twitter hours after the game. He endorsed a quote from J.J. Redick that said "there are more guys concerned with getting a pregame fit on Instagram than they are worrying about the win and loss of a basketball game."
Beal is on a team full of young players who are active on social media, often posting pictures of their fashion at games. Perhaps it was coincidental timing, or that is indeed one of his qualms. Maybe he believes it says something about the big picture approach of some of his teammates.
No matter the particulars, Beal's gripes are a reminder the Wizards have more urgency in fixing their roster than most teams do in a rebuild. They have an unusually patient star, but he's only patient to a point.
Maybe it doesn't happen by the Feb. 6 deadline, but clearly Beal wants some help. That should at a base-level make for a very important summer.
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