Whether it's an immediate upgrade over John Wall or not, trading for a player like Russell Westbrook this close to the start of a regular season has its risk, due in most part to getting a new star player acclimated with a group that has a bit of continuity.
Luckily for the Wizards, head coach Scott Brooks has seven years of experience coaching Westbrook and now four coaching Washington's franchise centerpiece, Bradley Beal.
Based on what he's picked up about both players' approach to the game, he doesn't think they'll have any problem playing together and leading a young Wizards roster this season.
"I think it's going to be a pretty seamless transition bringing Russell into the group," Brooks told reporters Friday. "I've known Brad for four years, there's a lot of similarities. These guys are tough, they're team guys, they're determined guys with a big-time drive and their work ethic, their professionalism, what they're about off the court. There's a lot of things where they remind me of each other."
The contrast in their on-court skillsets is undoubtedly stark. Westbrook is more of a full-steam-ahead, drive to the rim to finish through contact or dish to an open shooter while Beal is more meticulous in his moves to open up good looks on the perimeter.
But a little variety between two star players isn't a bad thing at all. As long as they're intangibles match well, it can lead to an incredibly effective partnership on both sides of the floor.
"With Russell and Brad, they're as physical as any backcourt in the league," Brooks said. "They can be as good as any two-way backcourt in the league and I like that."
For years, Beal and John Wall made the Wizards an absolute chore to play against in the playoffs because of their size at the guard spots and their ability to thrive in a physical setting reserved for the postseason. With Westbrook, the Wizards won't be losing that advantage and it should make life easier on a developing young core.
"Those two guys have a great ability to make the three other players on the court with them, much better," Brooks said.