In Washington, we are bracing for major changes with the Washington Wizards. The team is 3-8 in a season where the team had playoff expectations. Multiple key players are injured like newly-acquired guard Russell Westbrook and Thomas Bryant. The team is not playing games because at least half of the team is currently under quarantine for coronavirus protocols and we’re waiting for the fallout from it.
Also, Bradley Beal said not long ago that he would be open to leaving if the wins aren’t coming soon in D.C. They aren’t, and some exasperated Wizards fans are hoping that Beal gets his “Get Out of Jail Free” card soon in the form of a trade.
The Wizards traded John Wall for Westbrook last month in the hopes of getting a player who was more durable. It’s early, but Wall is doing better season than Westbrook individually since he hasn’t missed a single game due to injury (he missed the first two games due to being in coronavirus protocol). He’s averaging 18.6 points and 5.1 assists per game this season while averaging 45.4 percent of his shots, which is impressive considering his Achilles injury two years ago.
So why are we talking about Wall?
Simple, he made some telling comments about the Rockets’ situation and their 3-6 record so far. Houston lost a two-game home series against the Los Angeles Lakers, including a 117-100 loss last night. After the game, franchise guard James Harden spoke to the media, saying the team just wasn’t good enough.
James Harden asked if he’s surprised the #Rockets didn’t make a run: “We’re just not good enough..Chemistry, talent-wise, everything. It’s clear..I love this city I’ve literally done everything that I can..It’s crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.” pic.twitter.com/1bbfrytyUj— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 13, 2021
Then Wall had a chance to respond to Harden’s comments. Without mentioning Harden by name, he stressed that when “certain guys don’t want to buy in,” the team suffers. Wall explicitly referred to his early Wizards teams as “me, me, me, me” teams that weren’t able to succeed because some players weren’t buying in.
“It’s only been nine games. Come on, man, you want to jump off the cliff after nine games?"— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 13, 2021
John Wall on James Harden reportedly wanting out of Houston pic.twitter.com/rmevt9SntW
Ouch. It’s one thing for anyone to get called out indirectly at a press conference. But Wall has DEFINITELY played on more “me, me, me, me” teams than Harden. Remember, he dealt with Nick Young, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee (before his Warriors transformation) and Jordan Crawford ... ALL AT THE SAME TIME! If anyone knows who isn’t a team player, it’s Wall.
Houston, like Washington, is at a crossroads. The main difference is that unlike Beal, who has left most of his frustrations behind closed doors, Harden has left them out in the open. While I am happy to see that Wall is playing well under the circumstances, it’s difficult to see him on yet another team that is about to hit the reset button. Unfortunately, it’s not like Harden’s going anywhere until a team is willing to take his contract.