The consensus over the last few years has been that the Wizards have had one of the best three or four best backcourt tandems in the league between John Wall and Bradley Beal. Now, that seems to be validated with ESPN’s NBA Rank.
Wall came in at 15 on the ranking, which is two spots above where he was last year . The reason why he wasn’t closer to the top 10? His halfcourt offense was apparently an issue ESPN staffers considered.
Wall's struggles against Boston in the conference semifinals exposed somewhat of a limitation when it comes to executing in the half court. In fact, Wall ranked lower than every other player in our top 50 in points per play in the half court last season.
Wall was ranked comfortably ahead of Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas at 33 and Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving at 25. Rudy Gobert, Paul George, Karl Anthony-Towns and Jimmy Butler ranked ahead of him in that order before getting into the top 10.
Beal at 28 was a huge jump from where he ranked last year at 65. He tied Wall as the leading scorer on the Wizards last year at 23.1 points per game and upped his efficiency numbers across the board. The voters at ESPN felt Beal could have easily been an All-Star last season.
Beal jumped 37 spots from last season, the highest among any player in this year's top 40. Beal could have easily been an All-Star last season as he averaged more PPG than any player who didn't make the All-Star team in the Eastern Conference. With Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap now in the West, Beal is a strong candidate to make his first All-Star team in 2017-18 should his production carry over.
Rankings can be weird and subjective. But they can still be fun to look at and make for great discussion points on players around the league. We know the Wizards backcourt is good, but figuring out exactly where they rank among the NBA’s elite is a pretty neat thing.
One thing is certain — people think the future in Washington can be bright behind these two. Wall is already at the tip of elite status and has continued to improve throughout his career and Beal is probably on the verge of making his first All-Star berth.
Some of you may feel they’re too high. Some of you my feel they’re too low. But no matter how you feel about their position in the ranking, know that this is not the end-all-be-all. There is still a lot of basketball left to be played.
Also, for those wondering, only two other Wizards were ranked in this year’s edition, which only ranked the top 100 players in the league. Otto Porter came in at 42nd, one spot ahead of Andre Iguodala, and Markieff Morris came in at 79th, one spot ahead of Pau Gasol.