How John Wall took charge of the Wizards

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

After a 2-7 start, the Wizards needed someone to step up and divy out team roles. Enter John Wall. He tells Real GM about what happened in that important players-only meeting.

Throughout John Wall's maturation into an All-Star, we've seen the potential for Wall to be a great leader, dating back to his days at Kentucky. Yet, when push came to shove, it seemed that there was always a veteran there to give John Wall a swift kick to the shorts when he started to get lackadaisical.

But now that Wall is a max contract man, he can't always wait for Kirk Hinrich, Maurice Evans or Emeka Okafor to be the one to speak up when things aren't going well.

Back in November, there were reports of a players-only team meeting after the team got out to a 2-7 start to the season, and while details weren't too abundant at the time, the meeting did its job. The team won seven of their next nine and have gone 31-23 since the meeting.

Recently, the team opened up more about the meeting with Shams Charania of Real GM on how the meeting went:

Everyone spoke, everyone provided opinions on why another season had started like so many others for the Washington Wizards: unorganized and mismanaged. Final say? The exchanges stopped upon John Wall's words.

Essentially, teammates gave Wall the room, centered him in a classroom setting and asked: What should our roles be? You're the heralded franchise star, the organization's maximum salary designation. How about you tell us?

"From that day forward, I knew I was the guy, the leader, and I knew that they trusted me," Wall told RealGM. "I let everybody know what I thought about our state. I think we were passing the ball, but when you're not playing good for a stretch, frustration sets in. So guys find a way to blame it on somebody else or something else. Nene told me to stand up in front of the whole team and told me, ‘You're our leader, you're our franchise guy, so tell us what you think everybody's roles are.'

The article makes it clear that Wall's development is not self-taught. Wall credited much of his growth as a leader to the team's veterans like Nene, Trevor Ariza, Al Harrington and Marcin Gortat. While there has been some criticisms of how the Wizards have brought in veterans, they have at least paid off in helping Wall take the leadership role that the team needed him to take.

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