The Washington Wizards are in a re-tooling and development season in 2019-20. In large part, that is because five-time All-Star John Wall continues to recover from his February surgery to repair his nearly completely ruptured Achilles tendon. With zero timetable of when Wall will play in a game, practice, or even contact drills, the chances that he returns this season decrease by the day. One person within the organization believes there is little reason for Wall to play before 2020-21 because even though he may be healthy soon, he will be “healthier” later. Regardless, the point guard is looking good in non-contact drills.
During the Wizards’ West Coast trip, I asked several players what Wall’s role was like this season. The overwhelming and resounding commonality was his communication. Wall will give all of his coaches and teammates advice. Early this season, Scott Brooks credited (without revealing the actual tip) Wall for a couple of suggestions that the team immediately implemented. Even though he favored the younger players when it came to distributing information, the Kentucky product would not be afraid to approach veterans. This despite Isaiah Thomas joking that there was nothing Wall could teach him after praising Wall’s leadership.
“He’s just leading, he works hard. He’s always been a leader. He’s someone the guys can talk to about any situation,” Thomas said. “He works every day so everybody sees how much work he puts in. He’s talking on the bench. He’s talking to the young guys throughout the game to try and help them out.”
The other rotation point guard on the team, Ish Smith, is also grateful for Wall.
“We play the PG situation alike with how we push the pace, look to pass before we score. He communicates to me what he sees out there. He’s constantly engaged in the game, he ain’t just sitting there and he’s not just talking to me, he’s talking to all of us,” Smith described. “He’s a gamer, he loves basketball. He loves to hoop. When you get a guy like that who is so engaged, he is always trying to get better and always trying to improve.”