Familiarity doesn’t always breed friendship, and that’s something Washington Wizards stars John Wall and Bradley Beal are hoping to finally smooth over heading into this season.
Though they’ve been paired together since Beal’s rookie season of 2012, Wall and Beal admit they haven’t exactly found common ground yet.
“I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. … We’ve got to be able to put that to the side,” Wall, the 2010 No. 1 overall pick, told Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. “If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right … as long as you come to each other and talk. If I start arguing with somebody I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball.”
Beal agreed with the root of the pair’s problem.
“Sometimes I think we both lose sight of the fact that we need each other,” Beal told the network. “I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in without John. John wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in without me, without the rest of the team. It goes hand-in-hand, so it’s kind of a pride thing. We’ve got to [hash] out our pride, figure out what our goals are individually, help each other achieve those goals, figure out what our team goal is, where do we see ourselves five years from now, 10 years from now and go from there.”
John Wall and Bradley Beal, the young stars of the Wizards, are still looking to meet in the middle despite having been together since 2012. Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images
The team goal is to rebound from a 41-41 season that saw the Wizards go from being a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference to missing out on the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. New Washington coach Scott Brooks will be tasked with getting Wall, 25, and Beal, 23, on the same page.
“I think with Coach Brooks coming in, he’s going to hold everybody accountable, starting with me,” Wall said. “Just make sure everybody know what their role is. If everybody buys into their role, we’ll be fine.”
Part of the problem, according to Beal, might be that he and Wall are so alike.
“It’s tough because we’re both alphas,” Beal said. “It’s always tough when you have two guys who firmly believe in themselves, who will bet on themselves against anybody else, who want to be that guy. We both can be that guy.”
With Beal signing a five-year, $128 million max contract this offseason and Wall in the middle of an $80 million deal that runs through the 2018 season, the two still have time to get things on track in D.C.