The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

John Wall fires back at Dion Waiters’s ‘nonsense’ comment regarding the NBA’s top back court

John Wall and Bradley Beal believe they make up the best starting backcourt in the NBA. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Bradley Beal unknowingly ignited a verbal exchange at Wizards media day Monday, when he declared he and John Wall “definitely” comprise the best back court in the NBA.

A few hours later, Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters, set to become a starter for the first time in his career this season, was asked about Beal’s comment Monday and offered a quick response.

“That’s nonsense,” said Waiters, who shares a back court with all-star Kyrie Irving.

The thing is, Beal wasn’t the first to declare the Wizards employ the best starting back court in the NBA. Wall did that in May. And on Tuesday, Wall fired back at Waiters.

“Why he say that? They haven’t seen a playoff game yet so when they make one they can start talking,” Wall said after the Wizards completed their first training camp practice of the season. “But if you’re going to be the best back court, you have to start. This is the year he’s probably starting so let’s see who got to best back court. You got to be a starting back court to be the best back court.”

Wall won his first playoff game last spring, leading the Wizards to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2005 after suffering through three losing seasons. In his two NBA seasons, Waiters has started 72 of 131 games and averaged 15.2 points per contest. The Cavaliers have gone 57-107 since he was drafted fourth overall out of Syracuse in 2012.

Those numbers should improve this season. Waiters is the projected to start at shooting guard for the Cavaliers, who have vaulted to Eastern Conference favorites after acquiring LeBron James and Kevin Love during the offseason.

The argument is, of course, subjective and frivolous. There are a number of standout back courts, but the ones considered among the best weren’t around for the conference finals last season anyway.

Regardless, add another story line to a potentially rekindled rivalry. The teams meet for the first of four regular-season matchups on Nov. 21 at Verizon Center.