John Wall Says Washington Wizards Have Best Backcourt in the NBA

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John Wall Says Washington Wizards Have Best Backcourt in the NBA
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The Washington Wizards undoubtedly have one of the best backcourts in the NBA, but point guard John Wall thinks their status is even more elite.

Wall recently told reporters that he and running mate Bradley Beal are the best backcourt in the business, comparing Washington's guard tandem to that of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors when asked whether a better pairing existed.

"No, not in my opinion," Wall said, via J. Michael of Comcast SportsNet. "I don't think we shoot the ball as good as the guys from Golden State but that's all they do better than us to be honest. We play better D, attack the paint. I think we do everything better, except for shooting."

Wall, a career 30.8 percent shooter from distance, has reason to downplay the importance of shooting. He's the only one of the four that can't consistently punish a defense from the outside.

"I'm the only one not in that shooting category," Wall said, per Michael. "Brad is right there with them. Other than that, I don't think so."

The Warriors' combination of Curry and Thompson do shoot it better than Washington's backcourt by a wide margin. That difference in shooting success isn't seen only beyond the arc, either. Golden State's guards each had better conversion rates from the field as well.

USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to dismiss the importance of consistent scoring, particularly in today's three-point-driven NBA. Curry and Thompson not only move the scoreboard themselves, they also stretch out a defense, making it easier for their teammates to find good offensive chances.

That's an edge for the Warriors backcourt—and a major one at that. It might close this debate by itself.

If the argument stays open, though, the Wizards have some advantages of their own. The stat sheet paints Washington's guards as better rebounders, distributors and larcenists.

Battle of the Backcourts
Player PPG FG% 3P% APG RPG SPG PER
John Wall 19.3 43.3 35.1 8.8 4.1 1.8 19.5
Bradley Beal 17.1 41.9 40.2 3.3 3.7 1.0 14.3
Stephen Curry 24.0 47.1 42.4 8.5 4.3 1.6 24.1
Klay Thompson 18.4 44.4 41.7 2.2 3.1 0.9 14.3

Basketball-Reference.com

There are compelling cases to be made for both sides, but Golden State seems to shine a bit brighter for its superior shooting and star power.

"I’d take the Golden State pair just due to Curry, who’s better than anyone in Washington," NBC Sports' Dan Feldman wrote. "He’s just a game-changing star unlike Wall or Beal, at least yet."

Which team has the NBA's best backcourt?

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It probably says a lot about the state of NBA backcourts that two of the most often cited "bests" both feature a shooting guard with a subpar average player efficiency rating (15.0 is league average). There are other combos that belong in this conversation (Kyle Lowry-DeMar DeRozan in Toronto, Tony Parker-Manu Ginobili in San Antonio, Eric Bledsoe-Goran Dragic in Phoenix), but the Warriors and Wizards have largely dominated this discussion.

Barring any major moves, that's not likely to change soon. Curry is just 26 years old and Thompson is 24. Wall (23) and Beal (20) are even younger.

With a little more seasoning—a second-round playoff run was a nice start—Washington could solidify its standing as the NBA's best backcourt. For now, though, this pair has another rung (or two, or three) to climb to reach this summit.

 

Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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