The Washington Wizards have something to say. Two games into their 2014 NBA playoff run, and they have already quieted naysayers in a fashion that many didn’t think was possible. Last night they took a 2-0 lead in their series against the Chicago Bulls, and now there is a very real possibility that this team can go for a deep run. How deep? I’d have to say that I’m completely comfortable putting them in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. If they make it past Chicago (which is still easier said than done), there is no reason not to believe the Indiana Pacers or the Atlanta Hawks will get the best of them. You can create every narrative imaginable, but this D.C. team has been shattering them all one game at a time. The best part about it, the Wizards might just be getting started in the grand scheme of things.
Not bad for a team that didn’t have any nationally televised games. In fact, the one game they originally had scheduled for national exposure was flexed out in February as it was against the disastrous Cleveland Cavaliers. A few appearances on NBA TV were made, but since those aren’t technically considered “nationwide” games, they came and went without much notice. That scheduling alone is pretty disrespectful, especially when you’re depriving the public from watching the maturation of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
There will come a time in the very near future, that the title of the best backcourt in the NBA will come into question. As much as we all love to watch the “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the WizKids are right on their heels.
John Wall has been the best point guard in the East not named Kyle Lowry this season, and Bradley Beal is further proof that the 2012 Draft was pretty damn good. In fact after struggling Sunday night in his first career playoff game, Beal came back with a vengeance.
The upside of this pairing is that the sky is the limit for them. The Wizards have already committed to Wall as their franchise point guard of the future with his max contract extension, and Beal is only in his second season. Well-rounded shooting guards are becoming a rare find in today’s league, and Beal has quickly rising up that ladder. One of the things that excited me most about this first round was being able to enjoy watching these two put on a showcase for the world at large. The fact that they’re on the winning side of things only makes them that more credible.
Before getting ahead of myself, I have to acknowledge that the Wizards success hasn’t come solely from the dynamic duo of Beal and Wall. Watching Nene take the court and play the most inspired basketball of his career has brought nothing but greatness. Having dealt with injuries the past couple of seasons, watching him play healthy should remind folks that he’s pretty good at this basketball thing. Despite being overlooked, there is no doubt that Nene is the most important player on the Wizards, and their continued playoff success will depend on how good he can be.
Nene, Beal and Wall aren’t quite a “Big 3″, but they’re easily a group that will keep fans excited. Add a rejuvenated Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat as an enforcer inside the paint, and a specialist filled bench with Trevor Booker and Martell Webster and suddenly the misfit Wizards become more and more intriguing by the game. There’s even been a Drew Gooden sighting (yes, he’s still in the league) and the immortal Professor Andre Miller is always a pleasure to see.
The Chicago Bulls aren’t finished yet, but as a team that whose inconsistent offense has been put on life support, their days are numbered. Even if that’s not the case, the Wizards are giving them hell regardless.