LAS VEGAS -- Let's just say John Wall's goals for next season are pretty simple.
"This is my fourth year. I need to get into the playoffs. There's nothing more that needs to be said," he told reporters following the Wizards' 56-52 Summer League loss to Golden State. "I need to get into the playoffs. Seeing my season end early every year is no fun."
Wall is clearly tired of seeing his seasons end early. He's still seething over having to miss the first 33 games of last season, which wiped away what he described as an offseason of hard work that dramatically improved his game. We saw glimpses of that at the end of last season, but those were just glimpses. Wall is hoping the flashes turn into something more next year.
To ensure that, he's spending time working out with Kevin Durant in Los Angeles. Wall shares the same trainer as Durant, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Kevin Love, and while Westbrook and Rose have not been around much as they deal with knee injuries, Durant has been there.
"When I'm going against guys like Kevin Durant, who's one of the leading scorers in the league, he pushes you to want to get better, seeing how hard he works," Wall told Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr during the NBATV broadcast. "That's my main thing. I want to be on the level those guys are on."
Specifically, Wall is looking to continue to improve his shooting range. He credited assistant coach Sam Cassell with helping his development, and he knows that he has to be a scoring threat to open up other lanes for teammates.
"That's the toughest thing, though, because my whole life, I didn't have to do it," Wall told Miller and Kerr when discussing his jump shot. "When you get to the NBA, this is a man's league, a man's world. You gotta improve myself. I knew that to make things easier for me and easier for my teammates, I needed to knock down shots. I'm not stopping [my work]."
It's all setting up for what Wall hopes to be his best year yet, and he finally believes he has enough pieces around him to take the next step.
"I feel like we have a good enough team. What we had last year was good," he told reporters. "If the organization decides they want to add more pieces and make more moves, that's up to them. For us, it's about improving ourselves off the court so we can be better on the court."
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