The Washington Wizards have lost 11 straight games when Bradley Beal scores 40 or more points. On this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast, Larry Hughes and I discussed what that actually means and what we should take away from that statistic.
I felt that it at least partly indicates that no matter how good Beal is, he still needs help in order to win games and having to be a one-man band doesn’t equate to team success. That led me down a mental rabbit hole of the best teammates Bradley Beal has ever had.
The ordering is certainly somewhat subjective as some players got bonus points for tenure and others were evaluated based on how good they were at their peak. Without further ado, here’s the list!
10.) Paul Pierce: 11.9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 39% from three in 73 games
His veteran presence and leadership alone are enough to justify his place on this list. Plus, he called game.
9.) Rui Hachimura: 13.5 points, 6 rebounds, 30% from three in 72 games
If Hachimura continues playing stingier defense like he has recently, he will finish much higher on this list. For now, the back end of the top 10 feels right.
8.) Markieff Morris: 12.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 35% from three in 210 games
Morris had some flaws to his game but he provided a good mix of scoring, rebounding, physicality, and floor spacing from the power forward position. He was also a contributor on some of the most successful teams the Wizards have fielded this decade,
7.) Trevor Ariza: 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 37% from three in 176 games
Ariza’s placement here is mostly based on his first stint in Washington. His perimeter defense really enabled Wall to focus on facilitating and Beal to focus on scoring. By taking on the toughest perimeter assignment each night, Ariza made his teammates’ lives much easier.
6.) Thomas Bryant: 11.8 points, 6 rebounds, 37% from three in 128 games
It was obviously short-lived due to the ACL injury, but Bryant was playing really high-level basketball to start this season. It’s hard to say if he would have kept it up but there’s always a reasonable chance he would have continued to improve as the season went on and he got even more comfortable with his new teammates. Hopefully he can come back even better next season.
5.) Nene Hilario: 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 51% from the field in 249 games
Hilario gave a relatively young team an added sense of credibility. Obviously, what he did on the court was extremely valuable but his decision to come to Washington helped legitimize them and fast-tracked the trajectory of the organization. That veteran presence helped Beal because it meant that he didn’t have to take on too much too soon. And honestly, I will just always fondly remember him bullying the Chicago Bulls in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
4.) Otto Porter Jr.: 10.7 points, 5 rebounds, 40% three-point in 384 games
I know it’s fun to hate on Porter now and he never had a shot of living up to that contract. But he really was a valuable, productive 3-and-D wing for several seasons. He was especially good from 2016-18 when he averaged around 14 points, 6.5 rebounds and shot over 43% from three. Taking on tough defensive assignments and spacing the floor made life easier for Beal.
3.) Marcin Gortat: 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 56% from the field in 402 games
He was an iron man for the Wizards and consistent presence in the middle for five pretty productive seasons. He also set good screens for Beal and Beal seemed to appreciate his contributions. Yes, other players on this list were flashier and better at their best but I’m giving Gortat the nod for his consistency and effort.
2.) Russell Westbrook: 19.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists in 23 games
He’s trending in the right direction lately but the sample size is too small and the defense has been too poor to consider him for the top spot.
1.) John Wall: 19 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 1.7 steals in 573 games
I don’t feel like I need to defend that prime Optimus Dime is the best teammate Beal has had so I’m not going to.