Before the Wizards start the 2016-17 season, John Wall and Bradley Beal wanted to set the record straight about their relationship, after a summer where there was plenty of discussion about how well they can mesh together on the court.
In an interview with Michael Lee of The Vertical, they talked about the challenges they’ll face this season and their goals after last year’s disappointments.
“He had injuries the last couple of years and they’re like, ‘He don’t deserve it.’ Let him get a chance to earn it. Let him be an All-Star. Let him see if he can be healthy for a whole season and see what he can do. … I want him to be an All-Star, just like I am. It’s no fun when it’s just one guy. If another guy is there, it makes it more fun.”
If you’ll recall, he said something similar over the summer to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
"Now that you have your money you got to go out there and improve your game. I want you to be an All-Star just as much as I’m an All-Star. If we were playing well as a tandem like the other two superstars that play together as a backcourt, play as a tandem, one night it’s going to be his night, one night it’s going to be mine, some nights it might be both of us. Those are nights it’s going to be tough to beat us."
At the time the second quote dropped, it was something that led a lot of people to panic about the state of their relationship, but once you get past that first sentence, it sounds almost exactly like what Wall just said in the first quote he gave to Lee. So maybe there wasn’t as much animosity in Wall’s quote about how Beal should go out and improve his game. Maybe. Just a thought.
Remember, John Wall is the only Wizard who has played in the All-Star Game since he joined the team in 2010. Getting Beal to the All-Star Game in New Orleans with him this February would not only be a big step forward for Beal, but it would mean that Wall is finally getting the extra star power that he’s lacked for most of his career. It’s a win-win for both players.
Later on in the interview, both players took the opportunity point out if there was real tension they could have done different things summer:
“This is my brother at the end of the day,” Beal told The Vertical. “Nothing is going to change. If I didn’t want to be here, if we did beef, I wouldn’t have signed my contract. That’s what it ultimately comes down to.”
“And I wouldn’t have begged him to come back,” Wall interjected. “I would’ve been, ‘Don’t come back because in two years, I ain’t coming back.’ We would’ve figured something out. … I think everybody blew it out of proportion for no reason. I mean, if you look at any two great teammates, and two young, great guys, that’s talented and want to be great, you’re going to have ups and downs. Everything is not going to be perfect.”
At the end of the day, it’s still just talk until we see something different on the floor. But based on these quotes and the way they’ve meshed together under Scott Brooks through the preseason, there’s reason to hope there are better days ahead.