The conversation is never an easy one. But Wizards rookie and top draft pick Bradley Beal took his demotion to the bench in stride before Washington's 83-76 loss to Utah on Saturday. His replacement, Jordan Crawford, led the team with 20 points and eight assists.
"[Wizards coach Randy Wittman] told me straight up he was going to make changes," Beal said. "He said, 'If I do choose to bring you off the bench, don't take it personal or don't feel as though I'm punishing you, so to speak.'?"
Beal didn't, attacking the rim and going 3-for-3 for six points in eight minutes in the first half. Oddly, it didn't translate into any playing time in the third quarter, and Beal failed to rediscover his rhythm in the fourth, going 0-for-3 from the field in five minutes.
But the entire offense of the winless Wizards (0-8) continues to struggle; Washington is both the worst-shooting (40.1 percentage) and lowest-scoring (86.6 points per game) team in the NBA. The silver lining for Beal is that in a reduced role he won't be leaned on as hard to shoot the Wizards out of their funk.
- Craig Stouffer