The good news: the Washington Wizards have just beaten the Phoenix Suns for the second time in three games since rookie first-round pick Bradley Beal‘s return from an ankle injury. The bad news: Beal just rolled his ankle again and left the game.
The Washington Post captured the DC area’s mood on Twitter.
“If everyone you follow tweets about D.C. sports, I imagine ‘uh oh Bradley Beal’ posts just filled your timeline too,” @PostSports chimed in.
Before Wiz fans ask “Why us?” — which is totally fair — perhaps it’s time to just count the few blessings of optimism this year has provided.
1) Beal has proven to be an NBA-caliber shooter and knocked down jumpers in the clutch.
2) The Wizards can shut down Beal for the season without the DC area erupting.
3) The team was invigorated by the franchise player’s return.
4) Jordan Crawford was shipped off for an expiring contract.
But let’s rewind and focus on No. 3. Since John Wall‘s return from injury around New Year the team suddenly became enjoyable to watch and quite competitive, even winning 13 of the past 21. Also important, Wall’s been on pace for the best statistical month of his career.
“It’s a situation where there is not a lot of practice time at this time of year. So a lot of film work with him, sitting him down, having him have an understanding of the process of doing it and he’s really taken it to that level,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman told The Washington Post. “He utilized and took what the defense gave him. That’s the most important thing.
“If they want to stop him, then that’s going to leave opportunities for other people.…It’s been a process coming back from this injury, trying to work himself back into doing the things he’s capable of doing. His ability to keep the pace of the game the way we want. His confidence with his jumper. And finding people.”
In remarkably quick time the Wall-Beal backcourt showed promise, injecting a new hope into this Wizards offseason.