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%