With all of the moves that have occurred during the off-season, the Washington Wizards have been on the back burner not making much of a splash. However, John Wall has found a way to keep his team and himself in the headlines.
It all started with Wall acknowledging his lack of reference when discussing the top-five point guards in the NBA (via NBC Washington).
When asked at his charity backpack giveaway on Saturday if it bothered him that the Wizards are being overlooked, Wall brought up, unprompted, something he has heard in the media that is clearly bothering him.
“It’s just extra motivation for me. It don’t matter to me. A lot of guys don’t talk about me being a top-5 point guard and that’s cool. It’s just more motivation for me and for us as a team,” he said.
Wall is rightfully left out of the top-five point guard discussion. Partly due to his play in the recent year but also because the talent level at the point guard position is at an all-time high. If you ask anyone who their top-five point guards are they’re going to rattle off names like Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard.
Is he capable of being in that category? Absolutely but a lot of improvements have to be made. His shooting and scoring efficiency has to increase as well as his impact. Looking at some of the chemistry issues that have surrounded this team, Wall’s name has been in the middle of it. It also didn’t help that the Wizards went on a run and looked a lot more cohesive when Wall was out with an injury last season. We all know Wall is one hell of a player but if he can be more efficient and lead his team to success then he may get closer to cracking that top-five.
The discussion migrated to the Washington Wizards and Wall’s belief of their team being on the same level as the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference (via Yahoo Sports):
“I feel like we’re all equal,” Wall told Yahoo. “… None of them won a championship. This is no knock on no other team. Don’t get me wrong … Y’all might’ve been to the Eastern Conference finals, where we haven’t been to, but none of y’all were going to the Finals.”
“I put us right there.”
Any savvy consumer of the NBA knows this is an inaccurate statement. I understand what he’s trying to say and he’s supposed to have confidence in his team but it’s not that simple. If you look and compare last season outcomes, their rosters and the off-season moves of these four teams, that’ll tell you all you need to know.
Philadelphia had a great run and even overachieved last season in the eyes of some people. They have one of the best, if not the best group of youthful talent in the NBA today and they’re only going to get better.
The Raptors had the best record in the Eastern Conference and they added a top-five player in Kawhi Leonard.
Boston made it to the Eastern Conference Finals without their two best players. Enough said.
If we’re being honest, I’m not even sure if I’m ready to say the Wizards are better than the Milwaukee Bucks or the Indiana Pacers.
With that being said, Wall and the Wizards still have some improvements to make. They have some roster tweaks that can be made and there are still questions that need to be answered in regards to their play style. Their chemistry as a team and Wall’s leadership has all been in question especially coming off of last season. When you have immense talents like Beal and Wall, you expect more and the Wizards just haven’t delivered. Wall has made some wild statements in the last week but maybe this is just a ploy to motivate his team in hopes to take that next step.