Celtics

Wizards' Wall on NBA East contenders: 'I feel like we're all equal'

Wizards' Wall on NBA East contenders: 'I feel like we're all equal'

Wizards guard John Wall told Yahoo Sports that his team might be overlooked when talking about the NBA's Eastern Conference contenders. 

“Everybody is going to put Boston No. 1, because that’s what you’re supposed to," Wall said. "They had a hell of a season with those guys coming back. You’ve got Philly, they got their pieces. I feel like those top four, those top five — you can’t forget Milwaukee, what they have with Giannis [Antetokounmpo] — I feel like it’s all cluttered. I put us right there.”

Wall said even the Celtics, favored in Vegas to reach the NBA Finals, have question marks. 

“On paper, everybody looks great,” Wall said “We look great. Boston looks great on paper. But how are all those young guys going to mesh with Kyrie [Irving] being back? Or Gordon Hayward being back? Nobody knows how that’s going to work. Now, they’ve got a hell of a coach in Brad Stevens, and [with GM and president] Danny Ainge, they’re going to figure it out. But you still got to put it all together. You’ve still got to make it work on the court. We don’t know how Kawhi is going to work. We know what Simmons and Embiid are going to give you, but it’s a new year.

“I feel like we’re all equal,” Wall said. “None of them won a championship. This is no knock on no other team. Don’t get me wrong. Boston is a hell of a team. Philly has great young talent with those guys [Joel] Embiid, [Ben] Simmons. And Toronto, losing DeMar [DeRozan], they still get Kawhi [Leonard]. Y’all might have been to the Eastern Conference finals, where we haven’t been to, but none of y’all were going to the Finals. It was one guy going to the Finals. Ain’t nobody separated from nothing. I know one guy that separated himself from the Eastern Conference every year and that was LeBron James and the Cavs. Other than that … if you lose in the second round, or the conference finals, you still didn’t get to your ultimate goal."

Wall's Wizards took a step back last season after reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals and losing to the Celtics in seven games in 2017. Last season, Wall missed 41 games with a knee injury and Washington was knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Breakfast Pod: After apparent departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, what's next for the Celtics?

Breakfast Pod: After apparent departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, what's next for the Celtics?

The draft is a few days away and NBA free agency opens at the end of the month, but it seems like the Celtics have undergone a transformation the past few days.

1:17 - Chris Forsberg joins the BST crew to discuss the surprising reports that Al Horford will not return to Boston next season.

7:43 - Jackie MacMullan stops by Early Edition to talk about the reports that Kyrie Irving is ghosting the Celtics as well as how Gordon Hayward may have played a role in the Celtics chemistry struggles.

13:20 - Brian Scalabrine calls into BST to give his thoughts on the Celtics potentially losing both Al Horford and Kyrie Irving this summer.


LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE:

Marcus Smart seems ready to take over starting point guard duties from Kyrie Irving

Marcus Smart seems ready to take over starting point guard duties from Kyrie Irving

It's a near certainty at this point that Kyrie Irving is leaving the Celtics to sign elsewhere, and even though it's not official yet, Marcus Smart seems ready to take over the starting point guard duties. 

In a season marred with inconsistencies from the Celtics on the court, Smart was a steadying presence on both sides of the floor. He was named to the NBA's First All-Defensive Team and shot a career-high 36.4 percent from three to go along with his all-around contributions on offense. Smart started 60 games for the Celtics as an off-guard this past season after he was used primarily as a sixth man in the previous two seasons.

With Irving's likely departure and Terry Rozier's upcoming restricted free agency, it may seem like the Celtics have an obvious hole to fill at starting point guard. Not so fast. Smart has shown he is more than capable of being the lead ball handler for Brad Stevens and the Celtics could certainly use as much of his infectious energy as possible at this point. 

What could be the most important part of Smart's tweet is that on a night where the Celtics were suddenly at a real risk of losing Irving and Al Horford at the start of free agency, Smart gave Celtics fans something to smile about. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.