With a revamped roster, not many expected the Washington Wizards to do well this season. But with Bradley Beal leading the way and Kyle Kuzma proving doubters wrong, the team is on pace to become a legit contender.
The Wizards took down the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night, 124-121 with Kuzma finishing with 36 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. Beal wasn't too bad as well with 35 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
Kuzma has made a resurgence with the Wizards after a string of mediocre stints with the Los Angeles Lakers. The change of scenery has truly helped him, especially his mindset. Unlike most critics who view Kuzma as a self-centered guy because of his popularity, Beal said, quite surprisingly, that couldn't be more wrong (via ESPN).
“He's a willing learner. He accepts criticism. He doesn't think too highly of himself. He wants to win. You can see that.”
Beal, meanwhile, has become the de facto leader of the Wizards since Russell Westbrook's departure, which sent Kuzma to the nation's capital. While the Wizards have performed beyond expectations, the All-Star guard admitted it has been smooth sailing.
“I'd be lying if I said it was easy. Anybody who was a leader would say it's not leading a team, but it's what I'm prepared for and I'm excited about, and I embrace. Everything I do, my approach, my mentality, my body language, all that stuff, has a direct effect on my teammates, and as a leader, sometimes you don't understand that, and it takes a long time to develop that.”
The Wizards improved to 19-18 after beating the Hornets and will next face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.