The Washington Wizards had a complete overhaul to remove the stain of a reputation as being an under-achieving team. Trading players like JaVale McGee and Nick Young was just the start in the Wizards' transition.
The team will now center itself around guard John Wall going forward, after he signed a whopping $80 million contract extension, with the hopes he can lead the Wizards to the next step – the NBA playoffs.
With contract extension in hand, a full recovery from a knee injury, and a young, hungry team, Wall knows the Wiz are primed for a postseason run and will be reminding his teammates of this goal via his sneakers.
Wall will be writing the word "playoffs" on his sneakers throughout the NBA regular season as a friendly reminder for the rest of the team.
When the Washington Wizards open the season Oct. 30 in Detroit, Wall will take the court with the word “playoffs” scribbled on his shoes. He will repeat the exercise every day, through 82 games, lest he or anyone else lose sight of the goal.
“You will see it on all my shoes,” Wall said last week
. “Every game pair is going to have `playoffs’ on it. That’s my main determination.”
“I should be in the playoffs,” Wall said.
Whatever it takes for the Wiz, however, Wall may have speed and ability to score but if he wants to see himself in the postseason, he needs to look in the mirror and fix his game.
He is turnover prone, and his jump shot can use some work. Should he tweak his game, there is no doubt Washington can sneak into the playoffs. Factor in the East not as ultra-competitive as the West, this Wiz team should be able to sneak into seeds 6-8.
The Wizards have not been in the playoffs for five seasons straight. A lot is riding on the shoulders of Wall.
Reminding the team that the postseason is the ultimate goal is great, but for Washington to reach the goal, Wall will have to make the first step as the leader and franchise player. It all begins with him.