Otto #42, Beal #27, Wall #24 in SI 50-11 List

SI revealed their top 50-11 NBA Players of 2019. The rest will be released later

You can see the article here: https://www.si.com/nba/2018/09/10/top-100-nba-players-2019-lebron-james-stephen-curry-dirk-nowitzki

Wizards within 50-11

Otto Porter

#42: Otto Porter

Porter (14.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.0 APG) isn’t one to amaze—only to steady his team with quiet capability. The vast majority of his shots are created for him, though Porter adds value the moment the ball touches his hands. If open on the perimeter, Porter (who finished third in three-point percentage last season) is a lights-out shooter with a high release point. Should the defense give his shot the respect it deserves, Porter can drive in response without veering out of control. Restraint is the through line of his game. One can always trust in Porter to play within himself, gifting his coaches and teammates a certain peace of mind. Porter is the player you never have to worry about.

These are virtues best appreciated in contrast. If a team were composed entirely of players with Porter’s disposition, the offense might seesaw into eternity one non-committal pick-and-roll at a time. Yet in any more typical ecosystem, Porter would be welcome for his range, his patience, and his defense. Two-way, low-maintenance players are championship mortar. What Porter needs are the right bricks.

If an opponent really wanted to scheme away Porter’s offense, they could. There’s nothing particularly intricate going on in how he gets his points. But attaching a defender to deny Porter shots will still serve his intended purpose, making life that much easier on the creators around him. Reducing the game to 4-on-4 will favor any competent offense. Porter, meanwhile, can still assume critical defensive responsibilities and facilitate his team’s best lineups by flexing between positions. Nothing is wasted with Porter, even when he assumes a background role. 

beal

#27: Bradley Beal

This was a stretch season for Beal (22.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.5 APG), who not only played all 82 games for the first time in his career but went half that time without John Wall. The experience was illuminating. We saw Beal run even more pick-and-roll than usual, approaching each with a new disposition. Taking over the responsibility for an offense can’t help but change a player. Even though Beal will always see the game as a scorer first, he was more patient when it came to reading the floor and letting his options develop. The lesson, contrary to the extreme reaction at the time, was not that the Wizards are better off without Wall. It was that the Wizards are better off without Wall dominating the offense, which Beal could do more to help orchestrate.

Every year, Beal’s handle gets a little tighter. His crossovers these days aren’t quite so unruly, which allows him to work in straighter lines. The more direct Beal’s game is, the better; he’s so good at slamming on the brakes—only to pull-up for a jumper or pivot into one—that any momentum he generates works to his advantage. Beal’s touch is natural, but his moves are earned. You can see the patterns in his footwork that would only materialize through repetition, as he sorts out how to attack out of any situation and at any angle. Maybe the most underrated part of Beal’s game is the sheer accessibility of his scoring. No matter where he’s positioned, there’s always a way through.

wall

#24: John Wall

As always, Wall (19.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.6 APG) has paid careful attention to the perception of his standing relative to his peers, noting in an August interview with NBA Sports Washington that “a lot of guys don’t talk about me being a top-five point guard.” Although SI.com ranked Wall as the fifth-best point guard and 13th overall player at this time last year, it’s impossible to argue that he lived up to that billing. The five-time All-Star missed half the season due to injury, ranked outside the top 45 by PER, Win Shares, Real Plus-Minus and WARP, and was quickly bounced in the first round of the playoffs. At 28, Wall has never led a 50-win team, he’s led just one top-10 offense, and he’s won just three total playoff series during his eight-year career. That body of work doesn’t compare—at all—to the likes of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

If Wall returns to full health and 20/10 production, he belongs in the mix for a top-five spot with the next tier of point guards: Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry. But regaining his footing in that conversation requires more than just flashing his incredible athleticism, maintaining his improved three-point percentage, and recommitting himself on the defensive end. Wall spent a good portion of last year sniping with Marcin Gortat, and his ball-dominant approach briefly led critics to wonder if Washington was better off without him when he was injured. If Wall can make meaningful strides as an inclusive and empowering leader both on and off the court, the Wizards are far more likely to reach their playoff ceiling. When that happens, he won’t need to waste his time and energy fighting for respect. He’ll get his due. 

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