There's just something about confidence that brings out the best in athletes.
And Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards has not been lacking in that department.
In a sit down with ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the up-and-coming shooting guard described his expectations for the upcoming season:
"I feel like we're the best team in the East, I really do," Beal said. "That's how we feel coming into the season."
For his backcourt teammate John Wall, his answers reflect much of the same attitude.
"I feel like I am the best point guard in the Eastern Conference. Maybe people didn't get to see me on national TV as much last year, but they will this year."
There's a certain confidence about the Washington Wizards right now, the sort of confidence that beams with hope, expectation, and will-power.
This summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers replaced Kyrie Irving with Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Dwyane Wade. Those pieces, surrounded by LeBron James and Kevin Love, equal an almost guarunteed Finals run for the Cavs.
As a result, most have already counted the Wizards out.
While it's true that they'll never match up to Cleveland's fire-power, and don't have LeBron James, Washington is building something undeiably special in the Capital One Arena.
We saw some of that last year, when the Wizards won 49 games, to recover from an abysmal start to the season. We saw some of that in the playoffs, too, when the Wiz pushed the 1-seeded Celtics to a game seven in the Eastern Conference Semis.
So when you start stacking up the best teams in the East, it might be a good idea to include the Wizards. Because, if nothing else, their ceiling is the only thing higher than their confidence.