Wizards

Quick Links

John Wall shares big goals for him and Wizards after new contract

John Wall shares big goals for him and Wizards after new contract

With his new supermax contract keeping him in Washington for the next six seasons and into his 30s, Wizards point guard John Wall has outlined some specific goals he would like to reach by the time his playing career is over. Over and over at his press conference on Friday the ideas of winning a championship in Washington and getting his jersey up in the rafters were mentioned.

"I'm not going to stop until I get my jersey retired here and a banner here for a championship," he said during his opening remarks.

Team president Ernie Grunfeld even mentioned the jersey part.

"We hope one day he has his number up in the rafters and be one of the few players ever to maybe finish his career with one team," Grunfeld said.

[RELATED: Wall reacts to Kyrie Irving's situation in Cleveland]

The goal of his number being retired seems very attainable for Wall. One could argue he would deserve the honor if he left Washington today. The man already owns franchise records for career assists and steals, plus the single-season mark for assists. He's made four All-Star appearances, one All-NBA team and has led the Wizards to three playoff appearances in four years, including 2016-17 when they had their best season in 38 years.

The Bullets/Wizards franchise has only four retired numbers: 10 (Earl Monroe), 11 (Elvin Hayes), 25 (Gus Johnson), 41 (Wes Unseld). The last time any of those players appeared in a game for the franchise was 1981 (Hayes and Unseld). 

What Wall has done is already rare in the context of the Wizards' franchise. His four All-Star nods are the most for any Washington player since 1980. He is the first to earn All-NBA since Gilbert Arenas in 2007. Wall and Arenas are two of only three Wizards players (plus Rod Strickland) to make All-NBA in the last 20 years and only 13 have ever earned the honor in franchise history.

Wall's seven seasons in Washington are tied for 12th-most for the franchise. One more year and he will be tied for eighth. Two more seasons and Wall will be tied for second. Unseld holds the record, having played 13 seasons for the Bullets. Wall's new contract, a four-year deal worth $170 million that begins in 2019-20 is set to keep him in D.C. through his 13th NBA season.

[RELATED: Wall says extension with Wizards was never in doubt]

Wall is already seventh in franchise history in career points and is on pace to crack the top three this next season based on his career averages. He needs just 30 games to enter the top 10 for games played in franchise history. If he plays a full season he will crack the top six.

Wall's playoff success has been rare for the franchise, as well. He has led the Wizards to three appearances in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after Washington had only been once since 1982 and just twice since 1979.

Add it all up and it's a safe bet no player will ever wear the No. 2 jersey in Washington once Wall's time with the Wizards is over.

Now, as for that second goal. Obviously, winning a championship is much more difficult and unpredictable than Wall having his jersey retired. The franchise has a title, but hasn't even been to the Eastern Conference Finals since 1979.

It won't be easy, but clearly Wall is motivated to continue building on the success he has had with Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and others. 

"We definitely have a lot of unfinished business. I want to bring a championship here, so we're going to keep striving to get that. I'm not going to stop until we get there. That's why I wanted to come back to this city," Wall said.

[RELATED: John Wall reflects on the last seven years as a Wizard]

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

usatsi_10801745.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

You would not have known it by John Wall's towering poster-dunks over Jonas Valanciunas and Jakob Poeltl in Game 4, or his fourth quarter takeover after Bradley Beal fouled out, but Wall is still technically working his way into midseason form from the left knee surgery that kept him out more than two months down the stretch of the regular season. Add into the equation that he sprained his right ankle in Game 3, then resprained it in Game 4 right after Beal went out, and it's quite clear that what he is doing is simply not normal. 

Throughout Wall's recovery, his head coach Scott Brooks remarked how Wall can regain his form unusually quick following an injury absence. Game 4 was just his eighth game back, yet through four playoff games he is averaging an absurd 26.8 points, 13.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.0 blocks.

If that's what he's doing eight games removed from recovery, and against the top team in the Eastern Conference, what does peak playoff form look like? 

"I told y'all, I told all the media that I only need like three or four games. I really didn't need too many games," he said. "All the hard work that I did in those two months was to prepare myself to be ready for the playoffs."

Wall said he started feeling like himself in his final regular season game, his fourth outing following the injury rehab. It was against the Celtics and he scored 29 points to go along with 12 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

"I just started to see shots fall down that I was falling short with a couple games before that," Wall said of that night.

Brooks saw a change in Wall against the Cavaliers on April 5, in just his third game back. That game Wall put up 28 points, 14 assists, four rebounds and three steals. Most importantly, he logged 38 minutes.

"I knew I was going to challenge his body with extra minutes," Brooks said. "The way he responded to that, I knew he was back."

Whenever the turning point happened, there is no looking back. Wall has found his groove to not only impact, but at times dominate playoff games against one of the best defensive teams in basketball.

In Game 4 once Beal went down, Wall looked like the best player on the court. He scored eight of the Wizards' final 14 points to seal the victory and did so on a bum ankle. He outshined both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, two All-Star guards.

Wall even played sound defense on DeRozan in big moments. DeRozan shot 10-for-29 in the game.

"I think I did a good job of contesting him," Wall said. "Just do whatever it takes to help this team win."

What Brooks predicted would happen has indeed played out. He has been with Wall for about two years now and knows what the star point guard is made of.

"I've been with him two years, he loves to play," Brooks said, noting there have been some tough conversations to convince him to come out of games.

Consider this: Wall has scored 20 points or more in six straight games, his longest streak of the 2017-18 season. He has actually reached 23 points or more in those six games, which is tied for the longest such streak of his entire career.

Through eight games overall and four games in the playoffs, Wall has reminded everyone of what the Wizards missed. Yes, they went 10-3 when he first went down with the injury in late January, but that was not sustainable.

They need Wall to reach their full potential as a team and especially in the postseason. Late-game situations like in Game 4, when Beal exited and it was tied with 4:58 to play, are when the superstars separate themselves.

Wall did that and now the Wizards are in good shape with the series at 2-2 and having won two straight.

"Blame everything on him," Brooks joked of the Wizards' up-and-down regular season. "If he wasn't hurt, we'd be better, right?"

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN