One of the benefits of the Wizards‘ fast start is showing Bradley Beal that he can be part of a winning team in Washington, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. At 5-1, the Wizards are tied for the best record in the league after beating the Celtics in double overtime Saturday. Beal, who has been the subject of trade speculation for years, sounds as committed as ever to remaining with the franchise.
“I always say I want to win. I want to be productive and I want to win in D.C.,” he said. “We’ve done that, obviously, so far. Granted, we’re only scratching the surface.”
Washington shook up its roster over the offseason, trading Russell Westbrook to the Lakers in exchange for three players and signing Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency. The Wizards have a deeper team than they’ve fielded for several years and could be solidly in the playoff mix all season. With Beal eligible for an extension but also on the brink of free agency, it’s a good time for the franchise to be off to its best start in 16 years.
“It feels amazing, man. I tell these guys all the time, they can be a part of a lot of history over here,” Beal said. “Just from the way we’ve been doing things to the opportunity we have to create and mold our culture. We always talk about what a culture is and I always emphasize at the beginning of the year, it’s what we make it.”
There’s more from Washington:
- One of the connections to the Wizards’ last 5-1 start is new head coach Wes Unseld Jr., who was in his first year as an assistant with that 2005/06 team, Hughes adds. “That’s actually a stat I didn’t know,” Unseld said. “It’s great. There’s hopefully a lot of firsts this year.”
- Unseld had good news about center Daniel Gafford, who suffered a right quad contusion on Wednesday, Hughes adds in a separate story. “He’s much better. Still a bit tender. He got him right in the sweet spot,” Unseld said before Saturday’s game. “He’ll be out tonight, I think it’s more give him another day, day and a half to get his strength back. He got treated this morning and was moving a lot better.”
- There’s still no clarity on Rui Hachimura, who was given a leave of absence for personal reasons in September, according to Quinton Mayo of Substack. Multiple sources tell Mayo that Hachimura hasn’t been in the practice facility at the same time as his teammates since the leave began.