THE Washington Wizards star backcourt pair John Wall and Bradley Beal are looking to iron out their on-court differences in hopes of rebounding from a disappointing season and turning into true contenders in the Eastern Conference this year.
In a surprising revelation to Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time), both Wall and Beal pointed out that what may have derailed the rise of the Wizards last year was the on-court tension between the team’s supposed cornerstones.
“I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court,” said Wall, the top pick of the 2010 NBA draft who has been teammates with Beal since 2012. “We’ve got to be able to put that to the side.”
“If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right … as long as you come to each other and talk. If I start arguing with somebody, I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball,” he added.
There have also been times in the four years they’ve teamed up that both guards had to be separated after on-court blowups, which Beal hopes to prevent this time around in an effort to smooth things over with Wall.
“Sometimes I think we both lose sight of the fact that we need each other. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in without John. John wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in without me, without the rest of the team,” Beal said.
“It goes hand in hand, so it’s kind of a pride thing. We’ve got to [hash] out our pride, figure out what our goals are individually, help each other achieve those goals, figure out what our team goal is, where do we see ourselves five years from now, 10 years from now and go from there,” he added.
Beal also pointed out their similar personalities which added to the problematic past of the celebrated Wizards backcourt duo.
“It’s tough because we’re both alphas,” he said. “It’s always tough when you have two guys who firmly believe in themselves, who will bet on themselves against anybody else, who want to be that guy. We both can be that guy.”
Wall, though, is hopeful new Wizards coach Scott Brooks can get him and Beal on the same page the same way he did with two alphas in his time at OKC handling Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
“I think with Coach Brooks coming in, he’s going to hold everybody accountable, starting with me,” he said. “Just make sure everybody knows what their role is. If everybody buys into their role, we’ll be fine.”
The Wizards hope to return to the playoffs in the upcoming NBA season after finishing the last one with a 41-41 record and missing out in the postseason for the first time since 2013. Beal signed a five-year max contract in the offseason to stay in Washington, and with Wall signed until 2018, the pair have time to find common ground.