The Wizards Chemistry Is … Something To Envy? | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

The Wizards Chemistry Is … Something To Envy?

By
Updated: January 7, 2017

John Wall and Bradley Beal have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. Just don’t tell that to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Washington’s core of Wall, Beal, and Otto Porter has been intact (relatively speaking) for three full seasons and nearly half of a fourth. Wall and Beal have been the co-future pillars since the latter was drafted in 2012, and Wall has been a Wizard since 2010. With all those years as magic practitioners under their collective belt, it’s easy to forget that each of those players was born in the 1990s.  Between Wall (26), Beal (23), and Porter (23), the average age of the Wizards’ Biggish Three is just 24 years.

Yet, compared to the trio of Timberpups that lead the Minneapolis hoops squad, the Wizards trio is a group of seasoned vets. The Wolves’ Biggish Three of Karl-Anthony Towns (21), Andrew Wiggins (21), and Zach LaVine (21) has a collective 63 years under its belt, and backup point guards Tyus Jones (20) and Kris Dunn (22) round out a group of five players below the age of 23.

This is the second season Minnesota’s core has been in place. Towns is in his second year as a pro, Wiggins and LaVine are in their third. The team, as a whole, has nine players who have played fewer than four complete NBA seasons — in other words, nine players who entered the league either the same year Porter did, or later.

Compared to the Timberwolves’ experience, John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter might as well be Andre Miller, Rasual Butler, and Paul Pierce. Per Basketball-Reference, the Wizards are the 13th-youngest team, with an average age of 26.1 years. The Wolves are the league’s youngest team by a full year, at the tender average age of 23.6 years. The Thunder (24.6) are the only other team with an average age below 25 years, and the league average is 26.7 years.

Washington showed off its wisdom (or something of that nature) on Friday night, outlasting Minnesota for a 112-105 win on the back of takeover-mode John Wall, who finished with 18 points and 18 assists in 40 minutes.

Marcin Gortat, Washington’s eldest statesman by both age and experience, has been with the team since the start of the 2012-13 season, and along with Porter, he’s the third-longest tenured player with the franchise behind Wall and Beal. Only Markieff Morris, who joined the team midway through last season, has fewer than 82 games in a Wizards uniform among the starters.

“They’ve also been playing with each other for awhile,” Towns said of the Wizards postgame. “That chemistry, you can see it on the court. As Wall’s going to the basket, Gortat knows when to stop rolling and to start rolling, or to really move glass. We’re building that chemistry, too, here with the Timberwolves. When we have that type of chemistry, we can really do special things, too.”

“That’s a big part of playing in this league is knowing the league, and knowing what teams do,” Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the loss. “You take things from everybody.”

Not only is the team’s primary trio right at the legal drinking age, but their seven leading players by minutes—Towns, Wiggins, Lavine, Dunn, Gorgui Dieng, Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad—are all 27 or younger. Oh, and they’re currently tied for the league’s fourth-worst record ahead of what is widely believed to be one of the strongest drafts in recent history. Meaning, they’ll likely soon add another top talent below the age of 22.

The Wizards have the benefit of experience and wisdom and (apparently) chemistry, but they’re not sleeping on the fledgling pups.

“We focused on those guys a lot. They have three players that average 20-plus [points per game],” Morris said after the game, referring specifically to Towns, Wiggins, and LaVine. “They have a great group of young guys. Scared to see those guys in the future on the West Coast, but other than that, all of their guys are capable.”

“It was great. It was fun,” Beal added. “We’re all young guys. We’re going to be competing for a long time in this league. Wiggins is a terrific player. He’s going to constantly get better. That whole core that they have is a group of young guys that play tremendously hard and that are extremely talented so you know you got to give credit to them.”

The question is: Will these Timberwolves come to hate each other’s style of play as much as the Wizards’ best players hate each other’s? I mean, check out the bitterness and resentment Beal threw out when he was asked how easy John Wall makes his life on the court:

“Too easy. All you gotta do is run the floor and you’re gonna get open shots. Cut hard and run your plays hard and he’ll find you. It’s just a matter of just playing hard, playing with energy and the rest will take care of itself.”

Savage. Pure and utter disdain.

Bryan Frantz on EmailBryan Frantz on LinkedinBryan Frantz on Twitter
Bryan Frantz
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Bryan is a D.C. native with a degree in something or other from UNC. He has important, interesting hobbies, but mostly he just weeps over D.C. sports teams. You can find him on the Metro, inevitably complaining about Red Line delays.