WASHINGTON — John Wall and Bradley Beal made headlines this offseason for a variety of reasons.
The biggest reason was, of course, the supposed discord between the two players. Wall, the team’s franchise player since he was drafted in 2010, told CSN Mid-Atlantic that he and Beal, the team’s No. 2 star since he was drafted in 2012, have “a tendency to dislike each other on the court.”
Possibly adding to the tension is the fact that Beal, who had missed roughly a quarter of the games he was eligible to play in entering this season, signed a contract in July that will pay him roughly $43 million more than Wall is making on his contract.
Opposing fans are occasionally heard chanting salary reminders to Wall during games.
Shortly after the season began, those reports seemed to be a thing of the past as the two players seemed perfectly content with each other on and off the court.
In October, Beal told Michael Lee of The Vertical that the beef wasn’t anything to be concerned about.
However, one of the most interesting takeaways from that “beef” that either did or did not exist was a comment by Wall that Beal got his big deal, and now it was time for him to “earn” it.
Here is an excerpt from Wall’s comments to The Vertical back in October:
“He had injuries the last couple of years and they’re like, ‘He don’t deserve it.’ Let him get a chance to earn it … Let him be an All-Star. Let him see if he can be healthy for a whole season and see what he can do. … I want him to be an All-Star, just like I am. It’s no fun when it’s just one guy. If another guy is there, it makes it more fun.”
This week, Wall told The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan that his backcourt mate has turned a corner.
“He’s been great. He’s doing a great job,” Wall said of Beal. “He’s assisting, he’s rebounding, he’s scoring the ball for us. Having two 40-point games is big in one year. He’s been healthy a lot this year, and that’s the main focus he was worried about, just trying to stay healthy so he can prove to guys what he can do. That’s what I said, when I said let him earn his contract, it’s basically what he’s doing now. He’s scoring the ball, he’s doing everything he needs to. That’s what you do when you get the pressure put on you, when you’re healthy, you show everything, all the ability that you have.”
The team’s star point guard also offered up input on one of the other big topics entering the season: the difference between former coach Randy Wittman and new coach Scott Brooks.
“It’s a little different. Coach Wittman was more of an old-school type of guy and we were still trying to find ways to get a stretch-4 and things like that into the mix,” he said. “Now … we already have what we have with a stretch-4 and things like that. Maybe more of getting used to — Coach Brooks is more coaching the style of play that they have now in the NBA, and that was something [Wittman] was trying to get adjusted to.”
In the same conversation, Wall praised his other young teammates that are poised to make up the core for the foreseeable future, specifically Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre.
“I’m happy for all those guys,” Wall said. “We didn’t get out to the way we wanted to start, but all these guys I see that’s having these great seasons put in all the work — all these guys are in the gym early, late in the gym. You do those things, you build your confidence in that gym by yourself, it’s easy to go out there and do it on the basketball court.”
Wall also had a nice little nugget about Oubre and his short shorts, a look that he has sported all year.
“Nah that’s Kelly,” Wall said, when asked if he and his teammates make fun of Oubre for the look. “He’s the rock star. He has his own style, his own flavor, so we’re kind of used to it.”
Kelly Oubre: rock star.