This season, all eyes were on the on-court relationship between Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. The two admitted prior to the 2016-17 season via Wall, they had “tendency to dislike each other” on the court.
Their season got off to a rocky, starting 2-8 while Wall recovered from double knee surgery. With a magnifying glass on their chemistry, the two weathered the early storm and had a breakout season. Both averaged career-highs with 23.1 points per game.
For Beal he did so shooting a career-high 48.2 percent from the field, including a career-best 53.8 percent on two-point field goals. Wall also shot career-highs in field goals with 45.1 percent and two-point field goals with 48.0 percent. Wall added career-highs with 10.3 assists per game and two steals per game which ranked second in the NBA in both stats.
Washington’s dynamic backcourt continued their success in the postseason. Wall averaged 27.2 points per game, including two 40-point performances while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three — all playoff career-highs. Beal also topped his career-high with 24.8 points per game and shot a playoff career-best 47.1 percent from the field.
Those numbers showed the two at least point aside any differences and learned to play off each other on the court. The two have developed into the best backcourt in the Eastern Conference and their developing chemistry led the Wizards to the franchise’s best season in 38 years, winning 49 games and advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before losing in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
In his blog post, Beal reflected on the Wizards’ season that started off on a bad foot but captivated the nation’s capital in large due to his bettering relationship with Wall.
“John was terrific all year,” wrote Beal. “He’s our point guard and our general, and our relationship is better than it has ever been.
“We wanted to prove to people that they were wrong, and that there were no issues between us. There was no beef. We need one another in order for this team to be successful.”
The two realized they needed each other. Both Wall and Beal are considered cornerstones of the franchise. Owner Ted Leonsis recently told SB Nation’s Mike Prada both Wall and Beal “will be here” for their careers.
If so, their working relationship is imperative to both their individual success and the franchise’s long-term goal of winning the NBA Championship. After the Wizards’ best season in most fans lifetime, Beal understands having accountability with Wall will go a long way to becoming the best backcourt and team in the NBA.
“If we want to be the best backcourt in the NBA, we’ve got to show up every night and prove it, constantly put the work in, and continue to challenge each other to get better,” Beal wrote.