For Wizards fans, it was a fun, albeit brief, ride to have their young back court take place in the Team USA festivities this summer. When the first rounds of cuts came down on Monday, neither John Wall or Bradley Beal were left standing.
USA Basketball cut Washington’s John Wall, Bradley Beal and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap today, sources told Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 4, 2014
Throughout the many platforms where you can keep up with all things Wizards, there seemed to be some mixed feelings regarding the news from Washington fans. Some were sad & disappointed, some were angry and thought the cuts were undeserved, and some were relieved that they were no longer exposed to the additional injury concern that can come with the competition.
This got us to having our own internal discussion, and we wanted to put our thoughts together on the topic.
What were your initial thoughts upon learning that neither Wizard survived the first round of cuts?
Follow @CoryGrubbs10 CORY: I was a little surprised and a little disappointed. Heading into camp I knew Wall was sort of a long shot as D-Rose, Steph Curry, and Kyrie seemed to be locks. I couldn’t see a quarter of the roster being tied up with point guards. Wall would have had to have a hell of a showing to sniff the final roster, and after his performance in the Vegas scrimmage, I saw the writing on the wall (no pun intended).
Beal on the other hand I thought had a legit shot to head to Spain. His shooting, especially from the corners, is as silky smooth as there is in the league. I expected him to last longer than the very one-dimensional Kyle Korver, but my name is not Coach K. Oh well, there’s always the Olympics in two years. Now it’s time for our young backcourt to get to work in DC.
Follow @BenMehicNBA BEN: I was a bit surprised that both John Wall and Bradley Beal were amongst the first three players cut from the roster, but it was an inevitable moment, so the quicker they got it over with, the better. We knew that it was an uphill battle for both Wall and Beal before USA camp even started, but I’m strangely kind of glad they both got cut at the same time.
If anyone knows how to use this as motivation, it’s John Wall and Bradley Beal. Being one of the first to get cut, even though they probably shouldn’t have been, will only fuel them even more.
Follow @tjackson85 TREVOR: I think the best word to describe my initial reaction was disappointment. I was literally talking with Cory earlier in the day saying how awesome it would be to see at least one of our guys rocking the Team USA jersey in Spain. I didn’t have any delusional thoughts that both Beal & Wall would make the final squad — okay maybe that is a lie — but I had still envisioned seeing one of our guys playing on the big stage.
Were you surprised that Wall and Beal were two of the first three cuts for Team USA?
CORY: My thinking headed into this was that if Wall and Beal were not going to make the final 12, they would be cut early. The guard position seemed to be pretty locked down and the big man situation was what was really in flux especially with LeMarcus Aldridge, K-Love, and Blake Griffin backing out. USA needs big guys, and we all know Wall and Beal aren’t that. So to answer the question, I guess I was not all that surprised.
BEN: I was surprised, since I honestly thought someone like Mason Plumlee (who was called up from the Select Team) would get cut first. I never really thought that John Wall or Bradley Beal had much of a chance to make it, given the amount of talent with prior USA experience already on the team.
John Wall had to compete with Derrick Rose, who got basically all of the coverage during the start of camp, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and of course, Kyrie Irving. Although Wall is arguably a better NBA player than some of the players I listed, his skill-set doesn’t necessarily translate as well to the international game. Curry, Lillard and Irving are all capable of shooting the ball from the outside, while Wall’s biggest strength is obviously distributing the ball. He had to really, really stand out for him to even get a realistic shot at making the team, and after watching his performance in the televised scrimmage, I’m not sure he did that.
As for Beal–I was more surprised that he was cut from the team this early more than I was that John Wall did. Beal looked really good during the scrimmage, scoring 11 points, but he also got some great compliments from the likes of Kevin Durant *coughcough*, Tom Thibodeau and even Coach K. His skill-set translates really well to the international game, but I guess Team USA wanted someone with more experience. With that said, we’ll certainly see Beal rockin’ the USA jersey in the near future.
TREVOR: Yes, I was surprised. I didn’t expect to see both of their names as 2 of the first 3 cut. Just from reading reports and from the scrimmage results, I had convinced myself that Wall was going to get the ax first, so I wasn’t to shocked to see his name. There are a lot of talented point guards on this roster, and it sounds like he would have had to have a rather excellent camp to bump anyone from a spot. Add in there the fact that Coach K is essentially helping his Duke recruiting by picking all of his guys (Kyrie over John, Mason Plumlee potentially over DeMarcus Cousins?!?), so there wasn’t much surprise there.
I was more shocked to read Bradley’s name on the list. I thought he had a decent shot at making the team. He provides excellent outside shooting which is something this team needs, and there isn’t a lot of depth at his position. He also was playing reallly solid in the scrimmage prior to it ending early. I was expecting to see him at least move on to the next practice segments.
Do you think Wall or Beal should have made the team over any players that are left on the roster?
CORY: As a Wizards fan, of course I’m a little biased. Arguments could certainly be made as to why Wall and Beal should or shouldn’t be headed to Spain. USA values shooting so I can see why the other point guards remain on the roster instead of the Wizards lead guard.
Bradley Beal though, as mentioned early, should still be in camp over Kyle Korver. I’ve heard that double K is still there because he can play the SG and SF position. Really? There’s only a two inch difference in height, Beal can jump higher, run faster, and has MUCH quicker feet. You don’t think Beal can guard SF’s in International play? That’s a bunch of bull to me. Also since USA values shooting so much, I don’t know why DeMar DeRozan made it over Beal either.
BEN: At the end of the day, I think we’ll see the players that John Wall and Bradley Beal didn’t make the team over also get cut from the roster. I thought that USA could use another distributing guard that’s also capable of playing defense, so Damian Lillard ends up being the odd man out. USA likes scoring guards, but with Rose, Curry and Irving basically guaranteed spots on the team, Lillard might end up getting cut.
The same could be said for DeMar DeRozan, who looked good during the scrimmage, but probably shouldn’t make the team over Bradley Beal. DeRozan is an All-Star and deserving of the camp invite, but he still doesn’t shoot the ball well from the outside at a consistent level, while Beal could provide a bit more versatility on the international stage. I’d also be surprised if DeRozan makes the squad.
TREVOR: This is a tough question, because the roster is already so strong, but as a Wizards fan it’s easy to say either play could be an asset over someone else.
Wall would provide this team with a different style than they have with the current crop of point guards. He isn’t as offensively explosive as Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry if he is running point, or even Damian Lillard, but he is a very solid ball distributor and can also provide more on the defensive end than those guys. I felt like Rose was the wild card coming into camp just because of his injury history, but after hearing how strong he looks that pretty much put the ice on Wall. I could see Wall giving this team a good 10 minutes a night hounding point guards on the defensive end and finding scorers on the offensive side.
Maybe this is just the Wiz homer in my talking, but I think Beal would have been a better all-around fit for the squad then either Kyle Korver or DeMar DeRozan.
What are your thoughts on the injury aspect of guys playing on Team USA?
CORY: I don’t have a problem with it at all. Actually I’d rather have my players playing USA basketball over their normal summer basketball activities. You can’t tell me these guys would have anywhere close to the same medical attention they receive with team USA than say if they are playing in the summer league circuit that a lot of pros going around and participate in. No way!
Injuries can happen anywhere, anytime of the day. These guys could break bones, tear ligaments, and twist joints working out, walking up the stairs, or in any normal practice they participate in throughout the year. Paul George’s injury really is a shame and my heart goes out to him, his family, and the Pacers organization. This is the first major injury since NBA players started playing international basketball and it’s a shame it’s taking the limelight away from the action on the court. Get better ASAP Paul George! These boys will bring home the gold for you!
BEN: Look, people like to pretend that there isn’t an injury risk involved with playing basketball at a high level outside of the league you’re paid to play for, but there certainly is. I’m not saying that NBA players should refuse to play for their country, because we all know how big of an honor that is, but there’s still a risk of getting hurt.
I never liked to see players play in Pro-AM leagues for the same reason during the summer, but playing international basketball might present an even greater risk, since the players are, you know, actually playing defense and trying to win for their country. John Wall played in 93 regular season and playoff games this past season, and he actually had a knee procedure right before the start of USA camp, so he could definitely use the extra rest. Beal has also dealt with some pretty concerning injuries and I wouldn’t mind him getting some more rest before the start of training camp either.
TREVOR: It sucks anytime someone in injured…period. To have it on such a big stage and happen to a rising super star like Paul George, it sucks even more. But injuries are inevitable no matter what. These guys are going to be ballin over the summer somewhere. Whether it’s working out in a gym, playing in a league, or running pick up games. I mean look at Bradley Beal, the Monday Woj tweeted he was cut he was out playing in the Goodman League in DC.
I can understand how people were relieved that Wall & Beal will no longer be on the team, and therefore exposed to the competition and injury that could arise from it. That’s a fair point and I can see the angle that now they can get some much needed rest, but don’t think these guys are just going to be sitting around now waiting til the season comes.
For my money, if they are going to be hoopin anyway, I’d rather them be playing with the best players in America and spend as much time on the Team USA squad and around their coaches as possible.
How do you see both Bradley and John’s roll with Team USA in the future?
CORY: They will be back in USA camp in two years of the Olympics I’m sure, but will they make it? That team will probably have LeBron, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul back in a red, white, and blue jersey. I see their chances to make that squad very slim. But four years from now for the next Basketball World Cup, when Wall will be 27 years young and Beal will be only 25, I see these two as potential starters. Even if they aren’t starting, they should be key contributors off the bench. It will definitely be a situation that I have my eye on as their careers keep playing out.
BEN: I expect both Wall and Beal to get invited to USA camp before the 2016 Summer Olympics. I don’t know how much each player will improve, but 2016 is a big year for Washington *coughHeyKevinDurantcough* and it’d be awesome to see them represent the country at an even bigger stage. We haven’t seen a Washington Wizard represent the country in quite some time, so even if it’s just for the Olympics, it would definitely be cool to see the duo in Rio.
TREVOR: The good thing is they are included in the player pool moving forward. They should only be getting better as players and should have an opportunity to help represent the USA for the Olympics in 2016. Will they have a shot at making the roster? It’s way to early for all that but with their age and potential, I think these two guys are going to be making an impact for Team USA at some point in the near future.
Beal and Wall are both still very young, and will remain part of the player pool for Team USA moving forward. When the Summer Olympics comes around in 2016 Wall will still only be 25 and Beal will be just 23. So there is no reason to be upset at this current cut, as there is a good chance these two will be involved with Team USA for a long time to come. The House of Guards isn’t going anywhere.
Turn the lights up….
The future’s bright!