Even though the Washington Wizards sit at just 4-4 on this young season, they’ve showed encouraging signs that they’re sticking to the more modern, shooting-oriented style that they found in last year’s postseason. This approach is driven by their excellent backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall is already one of the best point guards in the NBA, and Beal has increased his volume and his efficiency. If he could manage to stay healthy (he’s missed the last two games), he could finally have the breakout season everyone’s predicted.
But is that good enough to make them the best backcourt in the NBA? Hannah Storm asked the duo, and they didn’t waste words:
Storm: Who’s the best backcourt in the NBA right now, in your estimation?
Wall and Beal (in unison): We are.
Storm: Some people would say it’s [Stephen] Curry and [Klay] Thompson. How would you make that argument?
Wall: We are.
Beal: We are.
Beal: Both ends.
Wall: Both ends. We play both ends of the court.
They seem to be insinuating that defense is the difference, but the stats don’t back them up. The Warriors have the third-best defensive rating in the NBA, and the Wizards rank 21st. Individually, Curry and Thompson each have defensive ratings around 95.5, while Beal’s at 98.4 and Wall’s at 101.5. Those may be more reflective of the team around them, and both Wall and Beal look like very good on-ball defenders on game tape, but Thompson is great at the point of attack too, and Curry is Wall’s equal as a pickpocket (they rank third and fourth in the NBA, respectively). Wall is the more physical defender, but Curry has become a great part of the Dubs’ defensive scheme.
This isn’t a new pronouncement for the Washington duo. Beal said the exact same thing at the opening of last season. However, while any supremacy over Klay and Steph remains highly doubtful, one thing’s for sure: Dion Waiters isn’t in the discussion at all.
No NBA franchise would be upset with a backcourt of Wall and Beal — they have a chance to be something special together. But the undefeated defending NBA champions have a rightful claim to the backcourt throne until the Wizards can take it from them.