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John Wall: “If I don’t win a championship, I feel like my career was a failure”

Washington Wizards Media Day

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards poses during media day at Entertainment and Sports Arena on September 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis set the bar high for the Wizards this season: Win 50 games and make the Eastern Conference Finals.

John Wall is doubling down on that.

Speaking to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes, Wall set the bar for himself and the Wizards’ franchise even higher.

“I think for me to have a heck of a career – if I don’t win a championship, I feel like my career was a failure. So that’s my ultimate goal,” Wall said.

The “ringzzzz” argument is wildly overblown among NBA fans (specifically Kobe fans, but that’s another topic). However, postseason success does and should carry some weight. Wall and Washington have fallen short on that front, no doubt.

Wall has not led his Wizards past the second round of the playoffs yet, and last season he missed 41 games, was not his vintage self in the postseason, and Washington was bounced in the first round. That clearly has eaten at Wall.

“It’s always like everybody says you can get to the second round but you can’t get past it. I never want to be one of those guys who can’t get past the second round,” Wall said.

Wall is putting in the work to change that.

On paper, this Washington team looks dangerous... just like every year. The backcourt of Wall and Bradley Beal should be one of the best in the NBA, Dwight Howard should have better chemistry with Wall as the starting center plus he is still solid on defense and the glass, and there are quality players around them such as Otto Porter and Markeiff Morris, among others.

However, it’s hard to believe in this team — the Wizards have never added up to more than their parts. They have never lived up to all that potential on paper. Wall and Beal have never had great chemistry (and both have battled injury issues), and there always seems to be some simmering tension in the locker room (Dwight Howard is not going to change that). Washington has always felt like a “12 players, 12 cabs” team. Las Vegas set this season’s wins under/over for Washington at 44.5, which would be sixth in the East. Honestly, that sounds about right. Three of the past five seasons this team has won games in the mid-to-high 40s range, then reached the second round of the playoffs before bowing out. It’s hard to imagine them breaking out of those molds in the East this season.

Wall realizes his legacy will in part depend upon him being able to lead this team to more than that.