The Wizards are playing their best basketball at the perfect time, and a lot of it has to do with the play of their two stars.
After a shaky start to the year hindered mostly by a nagging quad injury with Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal and his new backcourt mate have found their groove playing together. Beal is in lockstep with Steph Curry for the scoring title and Westbrook is well on his way to averaging a triple-double for the fourth time in five seasons.
Beal and Westbrook developing their chemistry on the court will likely put the Wizards in the play-in tournament, and former Washington big man Marcin Gortat isn't surprised by this and could see them improving next year as well.
"I'm not surprised they clicked," Gortat told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. "I still believe they're going to have a better connection next year. Russell is an amazing basketball player, a true pro, so I'm quite sure when he stepped into the locker room, he got respect from everybody automatically."
Gortat spent five years as Beal's teammate. The two went to war together, through disappointing seasons and those that went deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs. For Gortat, there's absolutely no reason why someone shouldn't be able to get along with Beal and play well with him.
"If you can't get along with Bradley Beal, there's something wrong with you," Gortat said. "Brad is such an easy guy [to connect with], he's such a great teammate and a person in the locker room, there shouldn't be any issues getting along with Brad."
It's fair to wonder where the Wizards would be right now after dealing with injuries and a coronavirus outbreak in January if they didn't have Beal and Westbrook there to keep everything afloat. Every season has adversity, and the 2020-21 campaign has had even more than usual. Having two veteran stars like that to keep everyone focused on the main objective is invaluable for any team.
"Having two guys like that, two leaders, true professional players, I don't think it's hard for anyone in the locker room to listen to these two guys and watch these two guys work together," Gortat said. "It's easy, and it's definitely fun to watch."
Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 8 p.m. Saturday for Marcin Gortat's full interview on Wizards Pregame Live