Best back court in the league, a case for Beal and Wall?
If you go through the eras in the NBA, something that has never been lacking has been outstanding Guards. In the 70’s we had the triple double monster, Oscar Robertson, alongside the man on the NBA logo Jerry West. During the hustle and bustle of the 80’s we had, one of the best guards ever Magic Johnson, and Detroit’s Isiah Thomas. In the 90’s we had the best player to play the game at his peak, Michael Jordan, alongside him we had ‘The Glove’ Gary Payton, and dime distributers, John Stockton and Jason Kidd. The Naughty’s was no different either, Kobe showed his class winning 5 championships, Dwayne Wade got Miami its first championship, and how could I forget Alan Iverson, the guy who made Philadelphia relevant again.
Now we come to the period we’re living in now, and it’s good to see we’re still all blessed to watch some of the greatest guards play the game. We have our very own Oscar Robertson in Russel Westbrook, James Harden has been unbelievable this season, while we may be watching the greatest back court ever with the Splash Brothers. A back court that has gone under the raider in the last couple of seasons has been the Wizards’, John Wall and Bradley Beal have been magnificent for the Wizards this season and sit in the third sport in the East, 3 games back of the first seed.
The first pick of the 2010 draft, Wall has always been one of the best guards in the East, but when it came to the All-Star game he was often overlooked. This season Wall is averaging a double-double of 22.9ppg and 10.8 apg. Although these stats may not be as glamorous as some of the other guards in the league, it’s a testament to Wall, that he still plays hard defense, something other guards, IE Harden haven’t done. Third in steals behind Draymond green and Chris Paul, 45 blocks this season and is level with potential Defensive player of the year Kawhi Leonard. Wall is a complete player and when you watch his highlight real, you’ll often find yourself watching his chase-down blocks with a huge deal of satisfaction.
Wall’s team mate and shooting guard for the Wizards, Beal has come on leaps and bounds recently, this season he has 23.1ppg and for his career he has 17.5 which indicates he had a tough start adjusting to the intensity of the NBA. At the start of the season the Wizards boasted a 4-6 winning record, and you wouldn’t have been mistaken for thinking that Washington were heading for another season of mediocrity, and may have struggled to make the playoffs.
Fast forward to the race for the first seed, since January the Wizards have been one of the best performing teams in the east, and their back court has been behind most of their success, the brotherhood and camaraderie between the two guards has shone. A game vs the Cavaliers on February 5th was one for the ages. It was a game the Wizards wanted more than the Cavs, to prove to themselves and everyone that they could beat the Lebron. They would have done it too if it wasn’t for the Kings miracle 3 with 00.3 remaining they would have done it too.
Last night’s game only adds to what I’ve said, heading to Cleveland, Wall got 37 points and 11 assists in a huge 127-115 win, some of his defense play against the King was impressive as well.
If the Wizards play the way they have been playing, behind an MVP-hopeful Wall, then perhaps this team can leapfrog both Cleveland and Boston and take the 1 seed.
Rest of the week.
Have we seen one of the best performances in NBA history? Devin Bookers 70-point game in a loss to the Celtics was the most points scored by a 20-year-old, and the most since Kobe’s 81 vs Toronto in 2006. Boston Guard Isiah Thomas was perhaps a little sour towards the young guard, saying
“we’re worried about the playoffs, they’re worried about the lottery” and while his comments have obvious truth to them, you can’t deny it was bitter, and I for one don’t see the point in it, it was an incredible performance, and one that should get appraisal from all.Finally, Eternal Status for Shaq after the unveiling of his statue outside the Staples Centre, Laker Legends were out in full force. Kareem and Kobe spoke on the Hall of Famers behalf, the latter saying he was the most “dominant player he’d ever seen”.