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Bradley Beal Better Settle in For the Long Haul if He Wants to Make it Work With the Wizards

Liam McKeone
Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal / Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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The tale of Bradley Beal's time in Washington over the last two years has been one of infinite sadness. Beal has grown from a decent shooter and solid sidekick of John Wall's to a legitimate superstar, talented enough on the offensive end of the floor to be a No. 1 option for just about any team in the NBA. He's a legit top-15 player with an argument for top-10 on the right nights.

But the Washington Wizards still stink out loud. Which isn't Beal's fault at all, nor can the organization really be blamed considering the team's tumble began when Wall tore his Achilles shortly after signing a max contract and missed nearly two full seasons of basketball. Having that much money sunk into a player who wasn't seeing the court while having another player good enough to win games on his own is a recipe for mediocrity.

This season, the Wizards are not mediocre. They are absolutely terrible. And yet Beal, despite looking abjectly miserable most nights, has not done the superstar thing where he complains to media and asks the front office to get him the hell out of there. Beal has said publicly on several occasions that he wants to make it work with the team that drafted him. With how bad the Wizards are, it feels like that is constantly on the precipice of changing, but the latest report from Adrian Wojnarowski suggests it hasn't changed yet: Beal wants to win as a Wizard.

This is certainly a nice change of pace after we saw James Harden pout his way out of Houston just over a year after Anthony Davis made it very clear to the Pelicans that he wanted to move to Los Angeles. It would be great to see Beal on a good team, but watching star players force their way out of less than ideal situations has gotten old very quickly. There's something to be said about perseverance and commitment and all those good buzzwords that don't mean a lot in the grand scheme of it all, but means something to the fans.

However, if Beal is dedicated to staying on this ship, he better get comfortable. Because the Wizards are not going to win anytime soon. Their last two lottery picks have relatively low ceilings; Rui Hachimura can score fairly well but he's an undersized four who will never be an impact defender, and Deni Avdija is a do-it-all forward, good at a lot of things but great at very little. Russell Westbrook, who came to Washington by way of Houston after Wall asked to leave, is now the worst player on a supermax contract in the league. He's barely above average some nights and objectively terrible most nights. His contract also means the Wizards can't improve on the margins in free agency or convince any impact players to come to town.

And Beal is going to win them enough games to stay in the low lottery. The path to another star to pair with Beal or finding enough good players to put together a contending team is not easy in general, but it's especially tough for Washington. They basically have to get lucky. They have to hope one of their lottery picks comes along quick enough to consistently contribute to winning or they find a hidden gem somewhere on the market.

That could happen. It just won't happen quickly, and it might not happen until it's too late and Beal hits free agency. Beal wants to win in Washington. It'll just be a while yet. He should sit back and relax if he really is in it for the long haul.

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