John Wall is never afraid to give specifics when discussing his goals as and individual and for his team. That's partly because he likes being honest and, like many pro athletes, he believes in speaking things into existence.
Wall has talked about the Wizards winning 50 games and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals or beyond before. But this week, he seemed to set the bar a little higher, if not for this year then for a season in the near future.
Wall, naturally, wants to win an NBA title. But it's not just a goal, it's the benchmark for which Wall will measure his basketball career.
"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.
Wall, 28, has never been past the second round of the NBA playoffs. The closest his Wizards team has been to advancing further was in 2017 when they lost in Game 7 of the second round to the Boston Celtics.
Last season, the Wizards took a step back and were bounced in the first round. Wall missed 41 games due to injury and, though he was in the lineup for the Wizards' lone playoff series, didn't have enough time to play himself into midseason form.
That experience may have brought some introspection for Wall, who is now speaking of his objective to win in the playoffs with added urgency.
“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.
The Wizards feel good about their chances to reach new heights this season. They are healthy entering the preseason and have an improved roster, most notably with the addition of Dwight Howard.
The Eastern Conference also appears relatively wide open with LeBron James having left for the L.A. Lakers. The Wizards believe they have enough talent to compete with the top teams in the conference like Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.
Is it enough for Wall and the Wizards to compete for a championship? Only time will tell, but Wall seems a bit antsier about going on a deep postseason run.
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