An online war of words clouded NBA headlines this past week after shooting guards, Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters voiced opposing opinions on which team had the league’s best backcourt. The Washington Wizards dived into the second round of this past summer’s postseason behind guards John Wall and Beal. And while the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t experienced much success behind Waiters and point guard Kyrie Irving, the talent between the two is visibly apparent and should only be on bigger display with the arrival of LeBron James and Kevin Love. But who has the NBA’s best backcourt? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley debate of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: If I had to start an NBA team right now and pick the perfect foundation to build upon, I’d have to go with Wall and Beal. Unlike Irving, Wall presents the perfect pass-first point guard and his speed and size allows him to push the pace on the break and defend opposing guards. Beal’s range on his jump shot allows for ultimate spacing, and at times he’s shown that he can be the focal point of an offense and carry the load. The two different styles flow together perfectly while both players work diligently on taking parts from each other’s games. Beal’s still steadily improving his one-on-one game – the specialty of his counterpart – while Wall continues to improve the mechanics and range on his jump shot, which is already the best part of Beal’s game. Any advancement between the two players on those critical areas will take this backcourt from the best to heads and shoulders above the rest.
Green: Although Waiters threw the Cavaliers’ name in the hat in regards to backcourts, the Golden State Warriors definitely have a gripe to voice. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson offer great flexibility and picture-perfect shooting, the ideal combination that any coach would want out of his backcourt group. Thompson stands a legitimate 6-foot-7-inches tall and Curry’s close to 6-foot-3, giving the Warriors two big guards that can shoot over most opposition and defend with relative ease. Curry offers a lot of skills that Wall already possesses while Wall simply can’t match Curry’s instincts and shooting. And, Thompson is every bit the shooter that Beal is—and even more.
Riley: Thompson’s importance to the Warriors has been clear as his name has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors over the last few seasons. Curry has been stellar, but the attractiveness of his game just depends on what you prefer out of your point guards. Do you like the pass-first guard who gets his teammates involved, or do you like the floor generals that can isolate and drop 30-plus points? It’s simply a matter of preference. But let’s not forget: despite Wall’s penchant for passing, he does have a career-high of 47 points, so he can get it done if the flow of the game demands it.
Green: Great players have been moved in trades before so it doesn’t matter how many times Thompson’s name has been linked to trade talks. He’s still with the team and continues to shine as a two-way player on one of the most electric teams in the Association. The “Splash Brothers” have definitely lived up to the hype and the billing as a dominant duo, and one playoff run by the Wizards doesn’t automatically translate to them having the best backcourt in the league. Personally, there’s no way I’m taking Wall over Curry. And, considering that Beal and Thompson offer you the same type of performance, I’ll always take the players with the height advantage. It makes for more flexibility and more strategies to dial up. All three backcourts of the Wizards, Warriors and Cavs are stellar, but when it comes to the most skilled and highest-producing duo, Curry and Thompson have the title locked down.