Bradley Beal says he won’t study film of how Kevin Durant, Paul George and James Harden played alongside Russell Westbrook to get tips or insight into his new backcourt mate.
The Washington Wizards guard says that his first week with Westbrook has been “smooth sailing” so far and that he wants to learn Westbrook’s tendencies on his own and not formulate any opinions based on others’ experiences or narratives.
“I’m not KD, I’m not PG, I’m not Vic [Oladipo], I’m not James,” Beal said when asked whether he has studied how other scoring wings played alongside Westbrook. “We all maybe have our similarities, but we are all different in our ways. I’m not going to judge Russ off of his previous relationships with guys on other teams. I want to be able to put my foot in his shoes and be in the moment. I want to experience these things for myself.”
Beal reiterated that he won’t compare himself with Westbrook’s previous teammates but did note how Westbrook was able to elevate those players’ games.
“I’m expecting the same thing, for him to push me, get on me and get the best out of me every night too,” Beal said.
The Wizards’ new backcourt will likely have to wait before making its debut. Washington coach Scott Brooks said the two likely will be held out of the team’s preseason debut against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
In his first week of camp with Westbrook, Beal said that the point guard has brought “a new energy” to the Wizards and that the team has had “no choice but to feed off” it.
Beal said the biggest adjustment is learning where Westbrook likes the ball.
“I’m easy to adapt to,” Beal said. “I’m not going to come in and say I need this shot, I need the ball here or there. Doesn’t matter. As long as we are all incorporated within offense and everybody’s eating, we’re good.”
“He’s a great passer,” Beal added. “He can pass the hell out of the ball. His pace is crazy. I don’t want to just compare him and John, but he’s very fast with the ball … and he’s looking for his shooters. It’s definitely cool to see that. I feel like there is always a false narrative on Russ, but he’s looking for guys, he’s trying to get guys the ball and he’s coaching.”
Brooks said Westbrook made an immediate impact in camp by making teammates feel his intensity, energy and work ethic in his first practice. Westbrook said he never considered altering his persona while adapting to a new team.
“It is who I am,” Westbrook said. “Plain and simple. There is no sugarcoating, there is no me trying to be somebody I’m not. Since I have been in this league, I feel like I’m one of the best leaders in the game.
“Leadership is not about what you say and all the s— that people see, but it’s actually what you do and how you impact and better your teammates as men and people.”
Westbrook said he has quickly learned how good and fluid a scorer Beal is. Beal says the adjustment with Westbrook so far has gone smoothly. “It’s been fun to learn from him, adjusting with him,” Beal said. “Playing with him for the past week, it hasn’t been too crazy, it hasn’t been too big of an adjustment to where it is like, ‘Oh man, damn, it’s a whirlwind.’
“It’s been smooth sailing.”