By now, NBA season previews are rolling out. Countless basketball sites, podcasts, and television shows are breaking down all 30 teams; projecting how each will fare based on additions and subtractions. I would like to do something different and focus on teams through the fish-eyed lens of their respective most-intriguing player or players. I continue with the Washington Wizards.
It is a common fact that in order to be a championship contender in the NBA, a team must have at least two star players. Two players, through will and skill, lead their teams through troubled quarters with self-sufficient scoring runs all the way to the Promised Land. The list of notable pairs is too long for this, but I'm sure you can come up with some on your own. I'm going to focus on the young duo in DC that seems have a bit of a rift in their relationship.
John Wall and Bradley Beal were slated to rival Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for the best backcourt in the NBA. Younger and just as complementary to each other as the Splash Brothers, their on-court games mesh really well within the structure of a backcourt. They haven't played that many games together, as both have dealt with their respective injuries--Beal more than Wall. Yet they've been around each other enough to know their personalities don't mix, or so Beal revealed over the summer.
"We're both alphas," Bradley proclaimed in an interview. He implies that he and Wall want to be the lead guard and number one option. Wall even said in a Sports Illustrated interview that the two, "have a tendency to dislike each other." This causes them to butt heads, as young bucks do, in an effort to get the other to wear the Robin costume. While this can appear to be dangerous for the Wizards' locker room and the future of these two as a duo in the Nation's Capital, this is both not a big deal and can be resolved with both of them still being on the team.
I'll start with something simple: there is only one basketball during a game. Teams must share at the core of basic offense anyway, as no possession can start without a pass from out of bounds, save any jump ball. Yes, the better offensive players in both scoring and decision-making ability will have the ball the most. And yes, the perimeter-oriented players will also have the ball more than interior players. However, because there implicitly has to be turn-taking in shot attempts due to the many ways and places one can shoot the ball, even superstars understand there must be help to score points. What I'm saying is that Beal and Wall can figure out when it's his turn to be the number one option. And that will have no bearing on who is the true alpha on the team. In fact, that doesn't really matter if those two can work together.
The Wizards' backcourt should not be caught up in ownership of the team on the floor. Everyone else on the roster understands it's *their* team, and *both* of them need to ascend to the elite tier of players if Washington is going to be a serious threat in the Eastern Conference. It's not as if their games are similar for this to be a basketball decision. Wall is lightning that has learned how and when to change speeds while Beal is deadly from long range with a crafty isolation game. They're just being stubborn.
This season should be a better one for the Wizards. If both guards are healthy, they have the talent to be a top-4 seed in the East. I hope that backcourt lands to be a tandem. I don't want them to separate.
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