A shouting match with Emeka Okafor turned John Wall's season around

USA TODAY Sports

Fed up with his teammate's lethargic play, Emeka Okafor confronted John Wall after the Wizards' one-point loss to the Pistons on February 27. Wall has been a completely different player since.

"Veteran leadership" is one of those vague intangibles that everyone uses, but few know how to apply. This anecdote relayed by Michael Lee would be a good application of "veteran leadership."

Lee reports that Emeka Okafor was fed up with John Wall's attitude following a one-point loss to the Detroit Pistons at home on February 27. That led to a shouting match that ultimately turned Wall's season around.

When Okafor attempted to explain afterward why Coach Randy Wittman had to make the decision to give A.J. Price more playing time, Wall snapped back, leading to a heated argument that was audible from the walls on the other side of the training room.

"It was just me being young and very frustrated. I wasn't making anything, turning the ball over, and we lost a lot of games that we should've won and I put the toll on me," Wall explained, as he recalled his emotions before the encounter. "A lot of frustration was coming out. As a veteran and being a leader on the team, [Okafor] stepped up and said something. At the time, it was in the heat of moment. I was upset."

Wall and Okafor talked the next day to clear the air, but clearly the exchange had an effect on Wall. Since that moment, Wall is averaging 22.7 points and 7.9 assists per game with a true shooting percentage of 56.4 percent and an assist rate of 40.4 percent.

It's just a small reminder that pros with credibility can have a lot of value to teams with young stars. Okafor may be overpaid for his production, but given his consistency and experience, he holds a lot of weight when he speaks up. It'd be easy for Wall to downplay similar comments by a fellow youngster like, say, JaVale McGee. It's much harder for him to do so when it's Okafor.

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