By: Joe “Cartright” Cardoso
The Washington Wizards have come to that tipping point every NBA team faces. Do you give a max contract to a player who is a rising star? Or risk losing him with nothing in return?
Shooting guard Bradley Beal is the player in question. He is seeking a max deal and is convinced he is worth it.
To this point, Beal is right. He does deserve to get paid. He has worked hard to make it to the NBA, and has blossomed into one of the league’s up and coming talents.
By the same token, The Wizards also have the right (as any business does) to take a long and hard look at all the factors before committing serious money to Beal.
Let’s take a look at the stats. Shall we?
2012-13 56 games played, 13.9 PPG
2013-14: 73 games played, 17.1 PPG
2014-15: 63 games played, 15.3 PPG
2015-16: 55 games played, 17.4 PPG
As a team trying to be a factor in the east, should the Wizards risk shelling out upwards of $23 million? Since being drafted four years ago, he has had an array of injures, and averages missing over 20 games per season. That’s roughly a quarter of the time that he is in street clothes. Will he ever shake the bad luck? Being on the court matters. No one wins a title by sitting on the bench. Just ask Derrick Rose.
Conversely, C.J. McCollum has better stats than Beal in every category except rebounds. The Blazer guard also laced ‘em up 80 times this season.
When Beal is on the court, he and John Wall are a terror, and so much fun to watch. Beal opens things up in the post for the bigs, but his defense still has room for growth.
The new TV deal for the NBA is going to afford margin players borderline star money. No one can fault the players for it. This is how they pay the bills, and if the money is there, take it. However, teams can still decide what type of player fits their system and who to spend money on.
There is no doubt that Bradley Beal will get paid. The question is twofold: one, will it be with the Wizards, and two, will he be able to live up to the contract? There is a line of players with a history of injuries that got paid and didn’t pan out, and that line is long.
At only 23, the past setbacks are not a death sentence. Steph Curry and John Wall were both banged up their first couple of seasons. Today, nobody bats an eye at the lost playing time because they are healthy and at the top of the sport. But come July 1, it’s game on, and we will see how this works itself out. With a high profile new head coach and expectations to get back to the playoffs, the Wizards are on the clock to make a move. The question is, will it be the right one?