The 2016-17 Wizards season may not have won 50 regular season games or advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. But according to Bradley Beal, individual and team development was a major positive from the season that was.
In a blog he wrote last Friday, Beal reflected on the Wizards’ accomplishments during the 2016-17 season. He wasted no time by saying that his relationship with John Wall has grown closer than before. Here’s a quick snippet from the blog:
John was terrific all year. He’s our point guard and our general, and our relationship is better than it has ever been. I think all the negativity at the beginning of the year actually brought us closer. 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.
What a difference one year makes, especially with perception. Last August, John Wall acknowledged that he and Beal had a “tendency to dislike each other on the court” in an interview to CSN Mid Atlantic’s Chris Miller.
Since this interview happened during an offseason right after they missed the 2016 NBA Playoffs and missed out in the KD2DC sweepstakes, I’m not surprised that people considered their “on court tension” to be a big deal. Of course, no relationship is perfect. But fans were quick to worry about the state of the team after that interview came out.
I noted last August that the two had to work through it. Both Beal and Wall were entering the primes of their careers and had to be the veteran leaders themselves. I am happy to see that they met that challenge.
Though most NBA pundits still say that the Golden State Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the best duo in the league, Beal believes that he and Wall are the best duo instead:
We are the best backcourt in the league.
That’s just the confidence and the approach that we have. We know that there’s a handful of talented guards in the league, and we’re not taking anything away from them. But we feel like we’re the best backcourt, and you’ll never hear us say anything different.
I still think Curry and Thompson have the edge, but Wall and Beal closed the gap last season.
Beal pointed out more of the Wizards’ accomplishments on his blog. He was happy to see Otto Porter’s three point efficiency, Kelly Oubre’s development, Marcin Gortat’s double-double season average, and Markieff Morris coming into his own. Beal also thanked his trainer Drew Hanlen for setting up an offseason training program that helped him stay healthy this season.
Again, read the blog to read what Beal has to say himself. But in closing, I’m happy that Beal and the rest of the Wizards took many steps forward last season. Hopefully, we’ll have more accomplishments that go above and beyond that next season.