John Wall has experienced enough of it throughout his career to be one of the world's foremost experts on NBA locker room dysfunction. He had some really good years in Washington, but also played through some fairly epic disasters alongside some of the league's most notorious knuckleheads, somehow rarely being brought down by them himself.
His current situation in Houston, however, may top all of those. Never has he been on a team with a player as high-profile as James Harden who has now emptied his pockets and all of his accounts of every last 'F' he had to give. Harden abruptly left his postgame press conference after the Rockets' loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night after decrying his team as "just not good enough." He added he does not think it "can be fixed."
Wall shared his own thoughts on the matter and pulled from his Wizards days to compare the experience. The last time Wall played was on the 2018-19 Wizards, who had an infamous downfall highlighted by infighting at practices and insubordination towards head coach Scott Brooks. They were a mess.
But Wall didn't invoke those days. No, he went even further back, likening the current Rockets to his first five years in the league. Yeah, it's truly that bad.
If you recall, Wall came into the league playing alongside guys like Andray Blatche, Jordan Crawford, JaVale McGee and Nick Young. He even played with Gilbert Arenas during his final days in D.C., when he was a shell of himself wearing the No. 9 jersey. Wall drawing that comparison tells you all you need to know about how bad things are in Houston now.
While Wall had a role in part of the 2018-19 mess, he seems to be completely absolved of blame with the Rockets. This is a problem between Harden and the front office and he appears to be an innocent bystander. Maybe that can give him and those who root for him hope that the issue can be solved. Once they trade Harden, which appears to be a certainty at this point, they can move on.
The good news for Houston is Wall looks healthy and is playing well. Through seven games this season, he is averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. The points and assists numbers would likely be higher if he wasn't sharing the ball with Harden.
Considering Wall missed two years while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, that's an excellent start. He looks good enough that the Rockets can move on from Harden and build around him, ideally of course getting a lot in return to put pieces around Wall and also Christian Wood, Eric Gordon and whomever else they keep.
Things could turn out well for Wall in that regard. He would get a fresh start and possibly be the face of another franchise. If the front office plays their cards right, they should get a major haul for Harden, who has won the league's scoring title in three straight years.
Until they move Harden, the Rockets will apparently be a hot mess in a dumpster fire on a sinking ship in a sea of lava. They are 3-6 and trending downward quickly.
The Wizards likely thought they were sending Wall to a good situation when they made the trade in December. It was a favor in a way, to trade Wall to a franchise with much more recent success and to a place where he could run the floor with an all-time great still in his prime. Little did anyone know the situation would devolve like this and so soon.
Maybe Wall will ultimately find success with his new team, but for now it's an abject disaster, the likes of which even he hasn't experienced before.