Wizards

‘I can go to war with him’: Beal eager to pair with Dinwiddie

Wizards

John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and now Spencer Dinwiddie: these are the floor generals who Bradley Beal has paired with in the backcourt of the nation’s capital.

Though Westbrook was able to energize Washington into a playoff berth in his lone season as a Wizard, his departure for Los Angeles now seems to have been a necessary steppingstone to making the team younger, deeper and cheaper. In his place arrived four proven NBA talents, one of whom is Dinwiddie, former point guard for the Brooklyn Nets.

Dinwiddie has already displayed his talents as one of the most dynamic point guards in the league. Beal couldn’t be more excited to share a court with him.

“I like his size, his athletic ability, his ability to score—which takes a lot of pressure off me in having to create new things—and his love for the game,” Beal said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington Wizards Insider Chris Miller. “I’ve competed against him in Brooklyn. We always usually guard each other, so I know what he’s about. He’s about winning, he’s about competing. I know I can go to war with him.”

That should be music to Wizards fans’ ears. Beal has seemed to mesh well with most everyone he’s ever shared an NBA court with, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his partnership with Dinwiddie is off to a good start.

 

But Dinwiddie never would have gotten to Washington had it not been for the colossal, five-team Westbrook trade. In sending Russ to L.A., Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard was able to snag Dinwiddie plus a first-round pick and Laker role players Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Beal still has, and will always have, respect for his former PG.

“Russ and I are great. He’s an unbelievable teammate, he’s an even better person. Our relationship isn’t tarnished from that [trade],” Beal said. “I love him to death. I’m happy for him. I’m happy he gets to propel his career the way he wants to, you know. He always has that chip on his shoulder.”

Losing Westbrook left the obvious hole on Washington’s roster at the point guard spot. While certain guys like Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, and Lonzo Ball were all available at the start of the summer, Dinwiddie was the one who the Wizards wanted. They got him, and Beal knows that he’ll prove to be more than capable as a starter in D.C.

“But on the flip, we got four or five guys in return for that, for Russ. When it came down to making a deal, we knew we needed a point guard,” Beal said. “I actually ended up reaching out to Spence and kinda gauging his interest, and he was more than interested because I knew his situation in Brooklyn was a little shaky.

“He could either stay there and be very impactful, or he can have an opportunity to really grow his wings over here. And so that was kinda how it came about. He had options on the table, even coming off an ACL [injury]. That was a tough thing too, so I definitely credit Tommy [Sheppard] for getting it done at the end of the day. Once he expressed his interest, we were like, ‘He’s probably the best point guard on the board right now.’”

Wizards fans will hope that Dinwiddie displays the prowess he showed in Brooklyn before the ACL injury that took him down three games into last season. Prior to the arrival of the Nets’ current big three, Dinwiddie averaged over 20 ppg and 6 apg in 2019-20 as a three-level scorer. With Beal ready to ‘go to war’ with Washington’s newest point guard, there is true potential for the Wizards’ new backcourt to make a serious impact this season.