If there's one thing to know about John Wall, it's that he can be very candid about what he thinks about a topic, or in this case Wizards coach Randy Wittman who almost everyone expects to be fired after Wednesday's regular-season finale with the Atlanta Hawks.
He spoke at length about a supposed argument he had in front of his team last week during a practice with Wittman, both sides denying it was a personal attack and at least four other players confirmed that it was overblown -- even Jared Dudley who is no fan of the head coach.
"It was just a shouting match going back and fourth during practice," said Wall, who was in a 5-on-5 scrimmage in which coaches were the referees. "I never sat there and cussed coach Witt out. I never sat there and cussed my whole team out.
"It's been like that even when we were winning games. When practice is going in a bad direction, we want it to be a better way of practice. You've seen guys shouting back and forth. You all have watched us playing games there has been shouting matches on the bench sometimes through the other players. It's just something you go through, you sit it aside and keep competing."
Wall is correct about the tone of practices and even during games. It's been chronicled here about his spirited discussions with Marcin Gortat over defense in practice. Nene and Bradley Beal went at each other with passion in a home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Alan Anderson tried to intervene and was shouted down. Occasional outbursts were even common two years ago, when Trevor Ariza had to clear the air and called a players-only meeting after a 2-7 start when things grew too personal among teammates.
Wittman has rubbed some of his players the wrong way, especially Gortat, by calling them out as "soft" multiple times as they struggled to get above .500. They never did that, with their last winning record just 11 games into the season.
"Every time somebody says something bad about me, I don't be mad at the person. I use it as motivation," Wall said. "I think we were playing soft. We weren't the team we was before, a feisty team, a dirty team that played hard, played physical. That's not the team you've seen this year. When he came out and said it, he was saying the honest truth about all of us."
Wall has blossomed under Wittman, and even if he's gone after tonight to take the All-Star point guard he at least said all of the right things.
"My relationship is a great relationship (with him). It was times when in the past they were asking if he was going to come back, they were going to sign him another year, I was like, 'Yeah, that's definitely the coach I want to have.' He's been here every year I've been in the NBA," Wall said of Wittman, who signed a three-year extension in 2014. "I've become a better player, improving me as a person. How he's been coaching, we've become a better defensive team. We made the playoffs because of him.
"People can always say what they want to say. ... With all the people that have been injured and what's been going on, he did the best he could trying to get this team to .500 and trying get this team to the playoffs. Just put in a tough position where you have a lot of guys coming in on one-year deals and you're trying to figure out who to put in rotations and you having guys you don't know who you're going to play on certain nights. It's been tough for him. If he come back, it's great for us. I know what he's meant to me as a coach and meant to me as player helping improve my game."