Whose Young Backcourt Is Better, The Washington Wizards Or The Cleveland Cavaliers?

By Nick Claussen
David Richard – USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards are both counting on their young backcourts to lead them back to the playoffs in the future, but which team is in a better position with its guards?

Both teams have former No. 1 overall draft picks at point guard, and they both have high draft pick rookies playing at shooting guards.

Both teams also have terrible records, though, and have plenty of problems to solve before they become playoff contenders again.

The Wizards are led by point guard John Wall, who has only played in 11 games this season due to injuries. He is averaging 14.1 points, 6.5 assist and 2.2 rebounds per game, but those numbers will likely go up as the season continues. So far in his career, which began in 2010, Wall has averaged 16.2 points, 8.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He is a career 41 percent shooter, but only shoots 23 percent from behind the three-point line.

Wall is very quick and has a great ability to get to the rim. He has not shown yet that he can be a great leader for the Wizards or that he can make them a winner, but he is still very young. He has great talent and is just going to keep improving.

Shooting guard Bradley Beal was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and he is having a solid rookie season. Beal is scoring 13.2 points per game while shooting 39 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind the three-point line. He is also averaging 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is a great shooter who has the potential to become an outstanding all-around player.

For the Cavaliers, point guard Kyrie Irving is scoring 23.9 points per game this season, which is the sixth-highest total in the NBA. He is shooting 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the three-point line, and is averaging 5.5 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Irving, who was drafted in 2011, is emerging as a leader and has already established himself as a great fourth quarter player. He is very good at using his quickness to get to the rim and score, and he has hit several big shots in his short career.

Shooting guard Dion Waiters, chosen right after Beal in the 2012 NBA Draft, is scoring 14.5 points per game. He is also averaging 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and has been a solid contributor for the Cavaliers. He is shooting 38 percent from the field and 32 percent from the three-point line. He has been a little inconsistent and sometimes takes bad shots, but has had some big games for the Wine and Gold.

Wall and Beal make a solid combination for the Wizards, but the advantage so far has to go to the Cavaliers guards. Irving and Waiters have better numbers, and Irving has already established himself as one of the best guards in the NBA.

The Wizards have plenty of problems, and it is not clear yet if the problems are holding Wall back or if he is contributing to some of the difficulties. He may become one of the best guards in the NBA, but he is not there yet.

The Cavaliers have plenty of problems, too, but it seems clear that Irving is helping to solve some of the issues so that the team can move forward.

The fortunes of both teams are going to be influenced by the players management puts around its young guards, but the backcourts are going to be counted on to lead the Wizards and Cavaliers. For now at least, it looks like the Cavaliers guard duo is doing a better job and is in a better position to lead its team back to respectability and the playoffs.

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