Before Sunday's game between the Wizards and the Jazz, Utah head coach Quin Snyder said John Wall and Bradley Beal are the NBA's best backcourt. When asked a follow-up to that statement about whether that means the Wizards' guards are better than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Snyder clammed up.
Well, on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center we will get to see some real evidence in the debate, as the Wizards host the Warriors [6:30 p.m. on CSN] in a matchup of one of the best teams in the East against the best team in the West. It's a showdown between arguably the two best guard combos in basketball and Beal, for one, is looking forward to it.
"A game like this is always circled for me. It's a big game, it's a game that is really going to test who you are. You have to show up. I think that's the way John and I both view it," Beal explained.
"Every time we have the challenge of another backcourt, we always want to win it. Our approach is that we are going to dominate as best as we can. That's our mindset. At the same time, we don't try to get too caught up in backcourt vs. backcourt, but at the end of the day it's a competitive thing and it's always fun when you're playing against some of the best players in the world and the best team in the world."
Curry and Wall are firmly established among the best point guards in the NBA, but both play very different styles. Both can score, but Wall is more of a distributor and is better on defense. Curry is known for his lights-out shooting from three-point range. Both can handle the ball, but Wall is faster and Curry is quicker in tight spaces.
Beal and Thompson are much closer to each other in style of play. Both are two-way shooting guards who can catch-and-shoot from distance with the best of them. Earlier this season, Wizards coach Scott Brooks broke down Thompson's film with Beal and Beal himself can see the similarities between them.
"I think our game is a little bit different in a variety of ways, but similar as well. I can definitely take how he moves without the ball out of his book. His catch-and-shoot ability is ridiculous. There are some things I can take from him, but not too much. I try to develop into my own player. He does a lot of things that I definitely steal from him, too," Beal said.
Given Curry and Thompson have already won a title and have been to two NBA Finals, many fans would give them the edge. But with Wall and Beal both having career seasons, the comparison isn't crazy at all if you look at the numbers:
Stephen Curry - 24.9 ppg, 6.3 apg, 4.4 rpg, 1.7 spg, 47 FG%, 41.5 3P%
Klay Thompson - 22.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, 3.8 rpg, 47.5 FG%, 42.2 3P%
John Wall - 22.9 ppg, 10.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 2.1 spg, 45.2 FG%, 31.2 3P%
Bradley Beal - 22.6 ppg, 3.6 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.0 spg, 47.8 FG%, 39.9 3P%
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 28, 1 day before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.
—NFL Combine (3/2) 2
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 9
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 48
—NFL Draft (4/27) 58
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 194
Comments on five first-round Redskins mock draft picks
—Derek Barnett, OLB, Tennessee, Chris Burke, SI.com
Burke says: There is more of a need in Washington for help between the tackles than another edge presence. Barnett, though, is strong enough and active enough to play hand in the dirt up front at times, which would max out how many athletes the Redskins can get on the field in their front seven.
Tandler says: I get that you can’t have too much pass rush but the Redskins have four legit edge rushers with Kerrigan, Smith, Murphy, and Galette. Even given that Galette’s injury status makes him a question mark and Smith’s inconsistency, you need to have something up front to make the edge rushers effective.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0
—Forrest Lamp, G Western Kentucky, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com
Jeremiah says: Lamp could play either guard or center for the Redskins.
Tandler says: That’s great but the Redskins are set at center and at one guard spot. They could stand to upgrade at left guard but I think that if the Redskins go guard in the first round for the second time in three years Jay Gruden’s head just might explode.
—Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford, Charley Casserly, NFL.com
Casserly says: Thomas is a solid run defender who can give you an inside pass rush as well.
Tandler says: Thomas has a heck of a motor and he plays the game as it should be played. His pre-combine weight is listed at 273. That would make him another edge player, see the issue with Barnett above. But if he weighs in around 290 in Indianapolis and the Redskins think he could put on a few more pounds he could be in play.
—DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State, Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com
Norris says: Scot McCloughan had a target in last year’s draft. Many believe it was Ryan Kelly. I doubt the NFL views a center in this class worthy of the No. 17 overall pick. McDowell would really help Washington’s defensive front.
Tandler says: Not sure why Norris takes a walk down memory lane to last year’s draft but McDowell could be the guy the Redskins need to shore up the interior D-line. There are questions about his consistency but if those are straightened out he’s a real possibility.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
—Budda Baker, S, Washington, Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com
Prisco says: They had real shaky play from their safeties last season. This is a kid who can step in and give them range and the ability to tackle in the run game.
Apparently Prisco isn’t familiar with the history of the safety position in Washington or he would have talked of issues during “the past decade” rather than “last season”. At 180 lb. Baker is on the small side but he hustles, hits, and has coverage skills good enough to cover slot receivers. He would be a great first-round pick but perhaps they could trade down lower, somewhere into the mid-20’s, and still get him there.
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