John Wall on the State of the Washington Wizards

John Wall on the State of the Washington Wizards

NBA

John Wall on the State of the Washington Wizards

Less than 24 hours after the end of the 2017-18 season for the Washington Wizards, the players returned to Capital One Arena to clean out their lockers and conduct exit interviews with team president Ernie Grunfeld, head coach Scott Brooks and the media. After all the other players had cleared out, John Wall was the last to go through the rounds and he had a bunch to get off of his chest. Here are the highlights:

On the difficulties of being a leader this season:

“It was great but tough at times because as a leader you’ve got to do it at all times. You never take a day off. That’s something I can get better at. When you have your mood swings or days you don’t want to be bothered, you have to still be a great leader. That’s something I definitely can learn from this year but when you’re not playing it’s kind of hard to be a leader because you don’t want to say too much because you’re not out there playing or competing with the guys but at the same time you have to be a leader and hold it down.”

On what the Wizards need to get over the hump:

“I think the most thing we really can worry about is trying to add some pieces that fit right with guys that want to be true professional, that want to really play and want to understand their roles and help the team out as much as possible.”

“I think it’s just figuring out what pieces can add to our team, what guys can stay and what guys can go, that make us, that really want to be here, that really want to win and really want to take that next step.”

On if the bench was deeper:

“I wouldn’t really say really deeper. … We just have to figure out what really fits with the team and I think we’ve been trying for some years to figure it out.”

On what pieces the Wizards could use:

“A lot, to be honest. There’s a lot that we can use. I really don’t have to say certain positions. There are certain things that people who have been around the team understand what we could use to help our team. It’s not throwing shade to anybody that is on our team because everyone that is on our roster gave everything they have to make it work and fit with the team, but at the same time, when it’s not working and then you try and you try and you try and it keeps failing over and over, then you have to make certain adjustments and certain changes.”

“I think the way the league is going, you need athletic bigs, you need scoring off the bench. … We need somebody else that can create off the dribble.”

On the locker room dynamic:

“But when things get rough that’s when you really figure out who’s your brother, who’s really in the war with you, who’s really in the fight with you. So, I think anybody can see from the outside or the inside looking in who really wanted to be here when things wasn’t going great for us.”

“At the same time, you kind of know what guys want to be here from what people have said in the past or what they haven’t said.”

“Some people don’t understand their roles so if you don’t understand your role and you think you deserve a bigger role, that’s not about to happen. If you not built for it, why would you want to be put in that situation. But a lot of people say they want that pressure or that situation and then they get put in it and they act totally different. Don’t ask for something you can’t handle. … If you can’t talk to somebody because they’re always think it’s negative or taking it the wrong way, we’re going to have issues and problems in the locker room and that’s where inconsistencies happen.”

“If I have a problem with somebody, we might argue here but when I get on the court, I throw it to the side because I’m trying to win. Some people can’t function both of those ways. Sometimes it escalates from having a problem in the locker room or disliking somebody and taking it on the court and not playing as a group.”

On why these issues occurred this season:

“It’s happened every year we’ve been here. It’s just at times, where we kept it in the locker room and guys moved forward. We had one meeting, ‘alright, we’re grown move past it, let’s go play basketball.’ I don’t know, for some reason, this year, it kind of lingered around a lot longer and that’s when you have your ups and downs and your downfalls.”

At this point, it is clear that the Washington Wizards were not on the same page for much of the season and it resulted in a first-round exit in the playoffs for a team that has Eastern Conference Finals aspirations for the past three-plus seasons.

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