Tag Archives: Shaquille O'Neal

Deal or No Beal?

Like most in the NBA, every team dreams of having a dynamic duo like Pippen and Jordan, Shaq and Kobe, or James and Davis. After another disappointing season in 2019-20, the Washington Wizards decided to try and stir up a dynamic duo of their own with newly-traded Russell Westbrook and returning All-Star Bradley Beal.

Excited by the potential combination, in an interview Beal commented, “I definitely think he [Westbrook] will propel me to a new level that I haven’t tapped into yet. I’m definitely excited about it (Chase).” However, the experiment currently boiling in DC has so far shown early signs of failure. Currently sitting at 2-6, the Wizards win just once for every four contests. The team’s projected 18-54 record would be worse than their 25-47 mark from a season ago.

To make matters worse, the expected dynamic duo’s stands at just 1-5, as Westbrook did not contribute to the win against the Timberwolves; which leaves most spectators wondering if the All-Star combination is creating more damage than good. Last season, Westbrook finished with a career-high 47.2% field goal percentage , and this season his average has decreased to 39.5% (Russell Westbrook Stats). On the other hand, Beal shot 45.5% from the field in 2019-20, which has increased slightly to 47.9% this season, although it is an average he has held before (Bradley Beal Stats).

Washington Wizards G Russell Westbrook
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, pictured in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, is projected to miss nearly a month with a quadriceps injury. He was also sidelined in the 2020 NBA Playoffs with a quadriceps injury.

Beyond the numbers, what the statistics fail to present spectators with is the lack of time (a period of only nine days before preseason) that the All-Stars have had to click. While some might argue that Westbrook and Beal are not the type of guards who can share a court, when speaking about constructive criticism from Westbrook, Beal said, “I’m a constructive criticism guy. I can take it. I love when guys get on my head, tell me to play better, tell me to go. Light a fire, fuel up under me; I like that (Chase).”

The Wizards, led by Bradley Beal’s league-best 34.9 points per game, currently rank second in the NBA in scoring (120.5) and are second-worst in points allowed (121.3).

For now, the lack of time might be enough to justify why the experiment has failed thus far. Just as it takes time to practice perfecting free throws and fadeaways, it takes time to practice gelling with a new team. Even though both players have talked about their powerful potential, everyone knows that actions speak louder than words, and the window of using time as an excuse is quickly running out. These two players must learn how to boost each others’ strengths and shield each others’ weaknesses or else the public will eventually have valid reasons to declare the experiment as unsuccessful.

And with Beal’s two-year max extension coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2020-21 campaign, an unsuccessful partnership may provide an answer to the original question of Deal or No Beal.

No Beal.

EDITOR’s UPDATE: Following the team’s 128-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns on January 11, 2021, the Wizards announced five positive COVID-19 tests and postponed the next four games.

Works Cited

  1. Chase Hughes. “Beal Says Westbrook Will Take His Game up a Level.” RSN , 15 Dec. 2020,
    www.nbcsports.com/washington/wizards/bradley-beal-says-russell-westbrook-will-take-h
    is-game-level.
  2. “Russell Westbrook Stats.” ESPN , ESPN Internet Ventures,
    www.espn.com/nba/player/stats/_/id/3468/russell-westbrook.
  3. “Bradley Beal Stats, News, Bio.” ESPN , ESPN Internet Ventures,
    www.espn.com/nba/player/_/id/6580/bradley-beal.