Since the Pelicans last appeared in a game — a bad loss in Minnesota, there’s been a whirlwind of activity outside of a basketball court.
- Monday’s matchup against the Spurs was postponed due to ongoing contact tracing
- Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick found their names swirling in trade rumors yesterday
- New Orleans cleared to resume practicing yesterday following no positive coronavirus tests
Perhaps fittingly, New Orleans’ opponent tonight is the Washington Wizards.
Following a 107-88 loss to the Houston Rockets last night, the Wizards record stands at 3-10. Few teams have disappointed more from a won-loss standpoint through the first quarter of the schedule; however, the blame can’t be entirely placed on their roster and coaches.
COVID-19 has wrecked Washington’s season to date. They were forced to go on hiatus for 13 days as six games were postponed for lacking availability of the league minimum amount of eight players. Six Wizards contracted the coronavirus and several others missed time due to contact tracing.
According to the latest injury report, Washington is likely going to be without a large portion of their roster in New Orleans.
That lengthy Wizards injury update includes one player sidelined by injury (Thomas Bryant is out for the season, left knee ACL), with six others unavailable due to health and safety protocols. That group consists of Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith and Mo Wagner. Meanwhile, guard Raul Neto (left groin tightness) is being listed as questionable to play against Houston.
Since resuming play, the Wizards have dropped both of their contests. In addition to the loss to Houston, Washington fell 121-101 to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
The Wizards are not in a good place and that was seemingly evidenced in Bradley Beal’s mannerisms after his night was finished against John Wall and the Rockets.
Bradley Beal was going through it on the bench. pic.twitter.com/OFLbkdbVMe— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2021
Beal is in the prime of his career and off to an outstanding start to the 2020-21 campaign individually, having scored at least 25 points in each of his first 12 games.
Bradley Beal is the 6th player in NBA history to score at least 25 points in each of his first 12 games of a season, joining Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Jerry West. pic.twitter.com/D2xDeyCAGf— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 27, 2021
Of course, last night’s reaction after dropping a 33-point, five-rebound, four-assist line is only going to fuel trade speculation even more. The combination of he and Russell Westbrook has not produced desired results.
Many believe that Beal has perhaps shown too much allegiance to Washington; however, I think he should be applauded for that. In this day and age of players spurning franchises to team up with other stars has become all too commonplace. Beal sounds different.
For me, I am kind of loyal to a fault. I’m kind of like Dame [Damian Lillard] in this realm that it would probably mean so much more to you winning it in Portland or winning it in D.C., because you know you grinding all those years. Then once you eventually come out of that light, I feel like the feeling would be so much grander than necessarily jumping ship. Jumping ship is kind of the easy way out. But at the same time, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win.
Beal also understands that there’s risk in going elsewhere. That a new situation may not be a tailor-made fit so it’s best to stay true to oneself.
I can sit here and say, ‘Yeah, I can go to Boston, I can go to Toronto, I can go to Miami’ … I can go everywhere everybody wants me to go. But what would that look like? It wouldn’t necessarily be my team to where now I’m in a situation in Washington where I’m being built around.
I know I’m going to have to take these bumps and bruises. I knew this last summer. I knew this, hell, the summer maybe even before that. You just got to grind it out, and stand true to who you are.
Will a loss tonight to the Pelicans have Beal change his tune? Maybe a streak of disappointing play leading up to the trade deadline? It’s anyone’s guess, but at the end of the day, be mindful of Washington fans — it sure wasn’t fun listening to all the Anthony Davis trade rumors while he was still in New Orleans.
Who: New Orleans Pelicans (5-10) vs Washington Wizards (3-10)
When: January 27, 8:00 p.m. Central
Where to watch: FSNO
Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM