John Wall’s season came to an end sooner than he’d like, when the star point guards Washington Wizards were ousted in 4-2 in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs by the Toronto Raptors. The 27-year-old didn’t mince words during his exit interviews, throwing his Wizards teammates under the bus.
“I just think you can kind of tell when guys, when things are going well, everybody is happy, everybody wants to be here,” he said, per ESPN. “But when things get rough, that is when you really figure out who is your brother, who is really in the war with you, who is really in the fight with you. I think anybody can see from the outside — or the inside looking in — who really wanted to be here when things weren’t going great for us, but when it is all happy go jolly, and we are winning, it is all fun and games.”
Now, it’s completely fair to interpret that as a guy who failed to lead his team to further playoff success whining about his team, but he’s got a point.
Wall got little help outside Bradley Beal
Wall turned up his production during the postseason, averaging 26.0 points per game, 11.5 assists, and 5.7 rebounds – all marked improvement from his regular season mark. Outside Bradley Beal, who averaged 23.2 points per game, no Wizard played beyond – or even to expectations.
Markieff Morris and Otto Portis didn’t up their game as needed, while the team got little from Marcin Gortat, Kelly Oubre Jr. or anyone else. When Ty Lawson and Ian Mahinmi are part of your playoff rotation, you’re in big trouble.
In order for the Wizards to contend, they’ll need to address the rotation BIG time.
Wall – as he stated in post-playoff interviews – needs an athletic big
One way to get more help is to surround Wall with some more athleticism.
“I think the way the league is going, you need athletic bigs, you need scoring off the bench, you need all of those types of things. We don’t really have an athletic big. I mean, Ian [Mahinmi] is older. [Marcin Gortat] is older. They’re not athletic guys, but they do the little things that permit their game to help as much as possible.” (via NBC Sports Washington).”
Team’s that succeed in the modern NBA all of have athletic, versatile bigs. The Wizards had no shot-blocking, athleticism or outside shooting from their centers – unless Morris was forced to the five. If Wall had a guy who could stretch the floor and defend the paint, it would help tremendously.
He’s a leader and he shouldn’t be afraid to point out his team’s flaws
Wall is by far and away, the Wizards best player. Even if his comments are somewhat salty, he deserves to be able to voice his opinion as the team’s de facto franchise player. The 27-year-old will be entering his eighth NBA season – it’s time to get him legit help and not waste cap space on guys who sit on the bench. Wall’s probably sick of the same old’ story every year.
Is Wall blameless in the Wizards postseason failures? No. But, for a guy that produced at an elite level only to be let down by his teammates, it’s clear he needs help and needs it now.