Washington Wizards: Where Does John Wall/Bradley Beal Rank Among NBA Backcourts?


One of the main story lines so far in the 2013 NBA playoffs was the stellar, surprising play of Golden State Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Their play wasn’t surprising in terms of comparing it to the regular season, but the fact that they played so well in their first career playoff appearances took the NBA by the storm. The dynamic duo is a threat on both ends of the ball, but their 3-point shooting is where the duo earned immense respect.

Curry and Thompson solidified themselves as the best backcourt in the NBA and there are several young backcourts that could follow in Curry and Thompson’s footsteps.

One of those backcourts is currently stationed in our national’s capital.

The budding Washington Wizards duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, who just completed his first NBA season, could reach the level of the Golden State backcourt sooner than later. In the 2012-13 season, Wall and Beal didn’t have many chances to display their skills at the same time, however, as Wall played in just 49 games while Beal played in 56. When they had chances to display their capabilities, they rarely failed to live up to their potential.

Beal lived up to the hype of being the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, averaging 13.9 points per game and earning first-team All-Rookie team honors. He didn’t make much of a living defensively, although his length was a welcomed addition to the perimeter for the Wizards. On the offensive end is where he made his biggest impact.

He proved to be an all-around scoring threat who can be a slasher driving to the basket and also pull up for a 3-pointer. He led all Wizards guards in 3-point shooting with a percentage of 38.6.

Wall struggled with nagging injuries all season long, but he still managed to have the best scoring season of his three-year career, averaging 18.5 points per game. His field-goal percentage of 44.1 was also a career high. He continued to be an athletic force defensively, as well, all season long.

Beal and Wall can be a dynamic duo. (Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com)

Moving forward, the Wizards’ backcourt has a prime opportunity to become one of the best in the NBA. But for now, it simply remains on the rise. Comparing the Washington backcourt to others in the NBA is difficult, as Wall and Beal haven’t even played a full season together. But, it can’t hurt to compare based on potential.

Headlining the top backcourts is the aforementioned Curry/Thompson combination for the Warriors. After that, Houston, Indiana, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers headline the next tier. Houston currently has the second-best backcourt in the NBA, given shooting guard James Harden‘s star potential and point guard Jeremy Lin‘s developing capability. Paul George and George Hill have formed a potent combination in Indiana and Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings are both inherent scoring threats for Milwaukee.

After those groups, Beal and Wall come into play. Right now, the Washington backcourt ranks among the top 10 in the NBA, based primarily on potential with last year’s impressive production taken into account. The jury is still out on where it deserves to be ranked right now, but one thing is for certain: Washington’s backcourt has the potential to be the second-best in the NBA behind Golden State’s.

Of course, that’s assuming Wall and Beal can stay healthy and continue to progress, but if they acquire an improved supporting cast surrounding them, the sky is the limit. Beal and Wall complement each other perfectly, as Wall is a talented all-around player while Beal is developing into the go-to scorer for Washington.

With two prime talents headlining the backcourt for the Wizards, it’ll be interesting to follow their progress as they look to take the next step in the 2013-14 season.