On Friday night, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal had to be helped to the locker room by two of his teammates after suffering an apparent knee injury. On Saturday night, Beal taught the Wizards a valuable lesson in their rout of the Detroit Pistons.
While he played just 20 minutes, the fewest of any Washington starter, they were an efficient 20 minutes. Beal dropped 15 points, 10 of which in the second quarter, and had four assists to go along with two rebounds. His knee, which came back negative in both an x-ray and an MRI, looked fine as two of his points came on a high-flying two-handed jam.
Saturday showed just how important Beal is to this Washington team and what he brings to the lineup. While John Wall is certainly the team’s leader, Beal is equally as important in a supporting role. He can make plays all around the floor. While he went 6-of-12 from the floor, he also went 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Having a player like Beal that is able to make mid-range shots as well as deep threes is going to take the Wizards very far this year.
As we saw on Friday night in their loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wall can’t do this all by himself.
It’ll take a healthy Beal to get them there, and they can’t afford for him to miss extended time this year. Washington’s other shooting guard, Garrett Temple, managed just three points on 1-of-4 shooting and in 18 minutes of play. While he played well defensively, the Wizards need scorers to help Wall out offensively, and that’s just not something Temple does very well.
On Friday night, the Wizards got a taste of what can happen when Beal goes down with an injury. Luckily, it was merely an injury scare as he returned to form and gave them a good effort in their victory on Saturday night. However, if the Wizards want to live up to the expectations set for them and make the playoffs, they can’t afford any more injury scares from the second-year guard.