John Wall sat down with Jim Rome this week on his new CBS Network television show. When asked by the host if the Washington Wizards are a playoff team, the franchise player from the Nation's capital said what he should say.
"Yes sir, I think so," was the quote from Wall. The emphasis on think rang out like conviction too, and this isn't the first time he's said as much this off-season.
He went on to include his reasons why as the interview continued (via DC Sports Blog).
“We added Nene last year as a true low-post presence that can pass and score,” Wall said. “Making a trade to get Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, someone that won a championship and also has veteran experience in the playoffs, and adding a great sharpshooter in Bradley Beal.”
Besides what it would mean for Washington, a playoff run would be huge for Wall's brand personally. I'm not sure how much of this media blitz isn't to remind people that he's still around. Even though it hasn't been his fault specifically, the losing he's been linked to over his first two seasons in Washington has pushed Wall further and further out of the NBA limelight.
< He's being passed up by guys like Kyrie Irving in that race to identify the League's next great point guard as a result. He needs some winning in a bad way, and Wall went on to tell Rome he thinks he can still resurrect all that.
“I feel like the program was doing good when Gilbert and those guys [were there],” Wall said. “They made the playoffs. But the last couple years have been downhill. I just want to be the savior, somebody that the whole city can lean on to make the playoffs and hopefully bring a championship there.”
In my opinion, Wall's numbers have been solid enough. He's at 16.2 points, 8.3 assist, and 4.6 rebounds through his first 135 NBA games. His outside shot isn't where you'd hope it would be, but he's still over forty-one percent from the field, and accounting for over 32 points of offense every night. But I don't think he has enough around him to win. Even with the moves they just made.
Say Wall improves in this third season, and ends up posting a stat-line that reads 19-9-5. You couldn't really ask too much more of him if you're the Wizards. Who's there to help him though? Beal should be solid, but after that? At this point in each of their careers, Nene, Ariza, and Okafor doesn't read like a playoff caliber front-line to me at least. Certainly not one that's remotely competing for a championship.
Not that I blame Wall for talking like this right now. The 8th seed is a real possibility for Washington I suppose. Certainly much more of one than it was last year. Anything more than that? I doubt it.