It wasn't that long ago when the Washington Wizards were the joke of the NBA.
JaVale McGee led that charge with bone head acts on the court (him running to the opposite end of the court while the Wizards were on offense is still my favorite), as did Andray Blatche being a lost cause despite his immense talent, Nick Young and his "shoot-first" mentality and of course, there was Gilbert Arenas and his gun-toting ways. You add all this up and it is just one formula for the team to be the laughing stock of the NBA.
But that was then, this is now.
Gone are McGee, Young, Blatche, and Arenas and in are solid veterans such Nene, and Emeka Okafor who will be looked upon to reform the mentality of the young team to that of a winning spirit. And John Wall wants to lead this charge for the franchise into the future.
In an interview with Dime Mag, Wall spoke on his lofty personal goals for himself and the Wizards heading into next season.
“You wanna do it all,” Wall told Dime. “You wanna be an All-Star. You wanna be one of the top five best point guards. You wanna make the playoffs, and get this city back to where they know they can be. When you have the playoffs, I heard how crazy it could be when everybody is wearing all white. That’s what I want to get to. I want to be the savior.”
“We want to be a playoff team,” Wall said. “We know we can be a playoff team. We showed we can beat some of the best teams in the league, and we can compete with all of the teams in the Eastern Conference. It’s just that we have to do the right things. I think everybody knows what our team is expected to be next year and what guys we’re gonna have back. We just have to put in the work this summer and come back even better.”
“As a player,” Wall said, describing what would make him feel successful, “I think be where everybody expects me to be: lead my team, being a clutch performer, being a superstar. That’s what I think about putting it in exact words that I need to, so I can finally lead to my superstar statement and be one of the top five point guards in the league.”
Now that the main knuckleheads are long gone now, it is apparent the Wizards are heading in the right direction. Jan Vesely had a solid rookie season, Kevin Seraphin is an up-and-coming player, Trevor Ariza will provide added veteran leadership and rookie Bradley Beal will just add more positives to the long-term plans of the franchise.
Wall is just scratching the surface of his potential. He has all the tools necessary to becoming not just one of the best point guards in the league, but one of the best players.
Now that he is surrounded with a good mix of youth, veterans and new coach Randy Wittman, he and the Wizards should be a team to watch for in the East. It won't happen overnight, but Washington will be making noise next season.