Wizards

Bachynski brothers get first real test

Bachynski brothers get first real test

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) As the Bachynski family moved around from one place to another in Canada, John and Yolanda kept track of their children's heights with a piece of wood instead of marks on the wall.

June 12, 1994: Jordan is 4 feet at 5 years old, Dallin 3 feet, 3 1/2 inches at 3.

Sept. 6, 2004: Jordan 6-4 1/2 (he'll grow another two inches in two months) at 15, Dallin 5-11 at 13.

May 10, 2010: Jordan 7-1 1/2 at 20, Dallin 6-11 1/2 at 18.

The final marks were more of an estimation for Jordan, though; the 2X3 they used only went up to 7-1.

``Didn't think we'd need anything bigger,'' John Bachynski said. ``Oops.''

Now, the Bachynski brothers face a new kind of measuring stick, one they've been waiting for pretty much their entire lives: Against each other on a basketball court in a game that means something beyond bragging rights.

After years of battling in the family driveway, the brawny brothers will face each other on opposing teams for the first time Wednesday night when Dallin and the Utah Utes travel to the desert to face Jordan and the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Befitting two 7-foot brothers, this should be big.

``I'm so stoked to play him,'' Dallin said. ``It's all I think about.''

The Bachynskis have waited a long time for this.

Two years apart, their age difference was just enough that they never faced each other on opposing teams, even when they went to different high schools.

As they got older, even the driveway games became scarce.

Jordan suffered an ankle injury his senior season at Centennial High School in Calgary, then spent the next two years in South Florida on a church mission.

When he returned, Dallin was on his way out, leaving for a two-year mission in Croatia after playing a season at Southern Utah.

Now fully grown - Jordan is 7-2, Dallin 7-0 - the brothers are itching to see how they stack up against each other after nearly five years apart.

``My brother has a lot of confidence. Whether that is well-placed or not, we'll find out,'' Jordan said. ``He's been talking a lot, but so have I. It's going to be a battle out there and I'm really excited to go at him.''

It'll be one of college basketball's rarest battles: Two 7-foot brothers playing on opposing teams.

John is 6-foot-5 and was a solid high school player. Yolanda is 6-2 and played collegiately in Canada.

Their daughter, Jessica, is a 6-1 sophomore forward at Utah Valley.

The Bachynskis are all big, but even as Jordan and Dallin shot up the homemade measuring stick, no one saw them growing up to be this tall and certainly not playing Division I basketball against each other.

``It's not something you expect,'' John Bachynski said. ``We never expected them to play DI basketball when they were growing up and then having them both playing with a sister playing DI, it's kind of surreal.''

Jordan and Dallin grew up always trying to top each other, from seeing who could eat more, do more pushups, lift more weight, who could block the other's shot or score over the other.

Monopoly games disintegrated into shouting or shoving matches.

Basketball often was more like wrestling, particularly if someone else was watching.

And, because they were oversized and boisterous, the damage could be extensive, from bloody noses and black eyes to holes in the walls, including a memorable Christmas crash that left Jordan and Dallin spending the afternoon with trowels and plaster.

``It was pretty much a 7-foot hole in the wall because we were wrestling and he either gave me a kidney shot or a punch to the stomach, and I was so mad at him that I picked him up and threw him as hard as I could into the wall,'' Dallin said. ``He ended up kind of going through it and we ended up having to fix it because my mom didn't want to deal with that on Christmas. I do know how to drywall now because of my relationship with my brother.''

Beating his brother has been a driving force for Dallin.

Jordan was always older and bigger, so Dallin spent much of his life trying to catch up to his big brother, live up to his exploits.

The years of getting his shots swatted by Jordan instilled a never-give-up tenacity in Dallin and forced him to develop better ball-handling skills and perimeter shooting.

Now, close to even in size and with a fully-developed game, Dallin gets a shot at showing big bro what he really can do.

``They both work hard, but Dallin has always wanted to catch up,'' Yolanda said. ``He's always been two years younger, two inches shorter. He's tired of being Jordan's little brother and wants to start doing stuff on his own.''

When they meet Wednesday night, it should be more of an even matchup.

Dallin played well early in the season, including a 22-point, 16-rebound performance against Idaho State, and supplanted Jason Washburn as Utah's starting center. He's gone into a bit of a funk since December started, but has been a key contributor off the bench now that Washburn has returned to the starting lineup.

Dallin is shooting 52 percent while averaging 7.6 points, 6.3 rebounds.

Jordan started to play better after becoming more aggressive last season and it's carried over to this year.

He was Arizona State's leading scorer with 17 points in the season opener against Central Arkansas and set a school record with 12 blocked shots while registering the first triple-double in school history against Cal State-Northridge on Dec. 8.

Jordan has 59 blocked shots this season, already fifth in Arizona State history, and is third nationally with 4.82 per game. He's averaging 9.8 points and 7.1 rebounds.

``This will be the first time they'll be on kind of a level playing field,'' John Bachynski said. ``It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.''

One thing's for sure: It'll be big.

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The Bradley Beal All-NBA Dilemma: How NBA execs would handle the big question facing the Wizards

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The Bradley Beal All-NBA Dilemma: How NBA execs would handle the big question facing the Wizards

“How do you get a player better than Brad if you trade Brad?”

That brain-busting question from a current NBA general manager came before the February 7 trade deadline when rumors involving Wizards guard Bradley Beal swirled.

Another migraine-inducing conundrum is forthcoming whether Beal receives All-NBA honors or not.

Should the league’s upcoming announcement of its first, second and third team include the two-time All-Star, the Wizards may have no choice but to break up the backcourt pairing with John Wall that fueled the franchise’s most sustained success since winning the 1978 title.

This honor comes with a financial reward-- if extended to Beal by the Wizards --  in the form of a supermax contract worth approximately $193 million over four years that would begin in 2021-22. He still has two years and $56 million remaining on the valued five-year, $127 million deal he signed in 2016.

The issue is less about Beal’s hefty chunk of the Wizards’ salary cap, but combining it with Wall’s four-year, $170 million supermax deal that begins next season. Offer Beal the supermax and, should he accept, approximately 71 percent of the team’s future salary cap beginning in the 2021-22 season would be chewed up by two players.

Beal and Wall, when healthy, are All-Stars. They’re not Jordan and Pippen.

NBC Sports Washington spoke with over a dozen league sources in recent weeks including three current or former general managers, other executives, NBA coaches, and scouts, about Beal’s contract situation and the Wizards’ overall equation coming off a 32-50 campaign.

Some dutifully tried putting themselves in the mindset of Washington’s next front office leader knowing Beal’s contract status and other limiting or uncertain factors.

The executives shared opinions on whether to boldly hold or sell high on the Wizards’ best player. Regardless of their stance, their initial instinct almost unanimously landed in the same place as this current lead executive: “I have no idea what you would do.”

*****

There’s an incredibly strong argument for doing nothing. How do you get a player better than Brad if you trade Brad?

Several NBA sources largely acknowledge the choice almost gets removed from the Wizards front office should Beal receive the All-NBA nod. Even if Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson or Ben Simmons trump Beal in the voting, events from early February may effectively force the Wizards’ hand.

Washington faced its second consecutive luxury tax payment, diminishing playoff hopes and the knowledge that Wall would miss the rest of the season with a heel injury.

Despite those negatives and salary cap concerns with only five players catapulting the team over next season’s salary cap, big picture hope existed. The headliners -- Wall, Beal and Otto Porter -- previously put the Wizards in a playoff contender mode. “We're not trading any of those players,” Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said at the time.

There’s a good reason to believe Leonsis meant what he said. Then life intervened and forced change.

Wall’s left Achilles ruptured during the first week of February. The recovery time means an entire calendar year and perhaps the full 2019-20 season. Those negatives, especially with the salary cap, were now amplified.

Washington dealt with that financial scenario two days after the Wall status update by trading Porter and Markieff Morris to slide under the luxury tax.

Another life event requiring a financial decision could happen soon.

*****

There’s no debating whether Beal is worthy of the All-NBA accolade. Some believe he is a favorite to snag one of the two guard spots on the third-team.

The dilemma is can the Wizards justify offering a contract with those hefty terms knowing what’s already on the books, plus the upcoming challenges.

Pass and the likelihood of trading Beal at peak value becomes a leading option. Hold Beal regardless and his trade value effectively decreases over the next two seasons with the possibility he leaves as a 2021 free agent without compensation.

“The Wizards is a hard job right now,” a former GM told NBC Sports Washington. “There’s a lot to figure out. Timelines can’t be certain with John Wall in particular. For Bradley Beal, that's a decision… Hard to walk in [to those interviews) with a specific plan.”

Leave the supermax contract off the table and the human element arises. Those familiar with Beal’s mindset do not see a Robin to Wall’s Batman. Co-headliners, cool, but then pay and appreciate accordingly. Maybe folks could start referring to the pair as Beal and Wall once in a while.

Forget the money, which isn’t Beal’s driving motivation. As one source familiar with Beal’s thinking stated, “Brad needs to be in the playoffs. He’s not disruptive...Brad just wants to win.”

The Wizards might not be in playoff position next season even if Beal maintains his All-NBA level. It's a near lock they won't if the 2012 first-round pick is traded.

Beal averaged 30.9 points in February, the same month he dropped a season-high 46 at Charlotte and his All-NBA buzz soared. Beal joined 2019 MVP finalist James Harden as the only players this season to average at least 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals.

The wing guard’s leadership kept Washington tangibly in the playoff race until realities of the undermanned roster kicked in.

“I think [Brad is] an all-NBA player in my eyes,” said Wall, an All-NBA selection in 2016. “You know how tough it is to make that team? It’s always tough. The year he’s had speaks for itself.”

How do you trade that player especially one groomed by the organization since selecting him third overall in 2012? You can't -- but the Wizards might not have a choice.

Nobody recognizes this more than Bradley Beal.

"Honestly, I’m here until I’m not here," Beal told NBC Sports Washington earlier this month. "I’m not thinking too strong on it. My personal desire is to be here and see the direction we go. Hopefully, the correct direction.

"I keep hearing the possibility of rebooting, trading Brad and getting assets back. It’s a business. I understand both sides of it. I can’t be mad at it."

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Bradley Beal rooted for the Capitals to win the Stanley Cup, so now he deserves to see his hometown team win it this year

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Bradley Beal rooted for the Capitals to win the Stanley Cup, so now he deserves to see his hometown team win it this year

The St. Louis Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks Tuesday to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1970, where they were eliminated by the Boston Bruins.

They will look to even the odds, as they will be taking on the Bruins yet again on Monday night.

Blues fan and St. Louis native Bradley Beal will hope that his hometown squad will take the cup from the reigning champs, the Washington Capitals, and win the matchup against the Bruins.

Beal cheered on the Caps just a year ago and is ready to show out for the surging Blues.

To really put it into perspective how long it has been since the Blues played for the Cup, take a look at the number one song in the country when these two teams faced off 49 years ago. 

The Blues besting the Bruins will be a challenge, and Beal will be ready to root for his squad until the final buzzer.

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