Why the NBA starting sooner than later is good news for the Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The coronavirus pandemic has forced significant changes to the NBA's calendar and the latest is a Dec. 22 start date for the 2020-21 season, which was agreed upon by the players association late Thursday night. Some will view this as an uncomfortably quick turnaround, as teams like the Lakers and Heat were playing in the NBA Finals just three weeks ago.
But for the Wizards, it could be seen as very good news as they have reasons to want games back as soon as possible and not only because they last played in August.
Here are some reasons why they should celebrate this news...
John Wall had to wait extra time coming off his Achilles surgery as the Wizards held him out of the entire 2019-20 season, even though the general recovery from his injury would have allowed him to return. Then, he had to wait even longer as the 2020-21 season was pushed back from the usual start time in October.
Wall can now gear up for his first NBA game since Dec. 26, 2018. By the time he returns, he will have missed nearly two calendar years due to injuries. That promises to be an emotional night for Wall and those close to him.
Wall and Beal reunite
Wall will be back and so will Beal, who missed the restart games due to a shoulder injury. In the two years Wall has been out, Beal has continued to ascend and round out his game, adding intrigue to what they will look like together in the Wizards' backcourt.
But it won't only be about nostalgia, as the Wizards need to see what they have in Wall and Beal as a duo sooner than later. Both players are signed to large contracts and head coach Scott Brooks is entering the final year of his own deal. If things don't work quickly, things could get interesting as the front office evaluates the long-term potential of the roster.
Young players can develop
The Wizards have revamped their roster around Wall and Beal to infuse the team with youth and upside. That process should continue later this month when they pick two players in the 2020 NBA Draft.
But all the time off has limited the ability of those young players to improve, as working out and playing in pick-up games can only take you so far. There is no replacement for actual NBA experience and getting back in game action will help the progress of guys like Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr.
The Beal factor
The Wizards have kept Beal happy to this point, enough that all the trade rumors involving his name have so far been nothing but conjecture. They don't want to deal him and he doesn't want to go anywhere, as he is on board with the plan to give it one more go with Wall.
The season getting pushed back, though, has meant more time for Beal to remain patient. At 27, he is in his prime and that won't last forever. He wants to win and will only have so many years to lead a team as a star player. Beal played this past season for the Wizards, knowing it was going to be a development year. Though it was difficult for him to endure a losing season, he knew it was all about setting things up for the 2020-21 campaign. Now, it's almost here.