Are the Washington Wizards a better team without John Wall?
Kevin Durant is not buying that notion. Just ahead of Wednesday’s meeting between the Wizards and Durant’s Golden State Warriors, the Seat Pleasant, Md. native swatted off any talk of Washington being better without it’s five-time All-Star.
“That’s from a bunch of people that don’t understand basketball,” Durant said per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “If you say you don’t need one of the best point guards in the league on your team, then I don’t know if you should be in this game as a front office executive.”
Wall has missed the past 13 games after undergoing knee surgery in January to alleviate nagging issues with his knee. Wall was hampered with the injury after bumping knees in a Nov. 7 game against Dallas. Even still on a bad year, he is averaging 19.4 points, 9.3 assists — second in the NBA at the time of his injury — and shooting a career-high 35.8 percent from three.
Stats aside, when healthy Wall provides play-making ability. He is arguably the fastest player in the NBA and his defense on-ball and chasing down blocks are arguably second to none among point guards. Those are attributes that ensure the Wizards need Wall, especially during the playoffs, as Durant stated.
“They need John Wall once they get to the playoffs,” Durant said. “The regular season is a different dynamic than the playoffs, obviously,” he said. “You definitely need a guy like that.”
Instead of celebrating and enjoying how well the Wizards have been doing collectively in Wall’s absence, too much time is defending against this divisive narrative. The Wizards are an impressive 10-3 without Wall during his recent absence. The growth of the supporting cast has gone a long way to the team’s success, alleviating pressure off Bradley Beal without Wall.
Durant adds that shows how much “pride” is on the team. Let’s just enjoy this stretch and hope the Wizards stay formidable until their leader returns to better prepare them for a deep run in the playoffs.