Don’t expect John Wall to lay down and concede the Eastern Conference to the consensus “favorites.”
The Washington Wizards guard is coming off a forgettable season, as he missed 41 games and watched his talented team sneak into the NBA playoffs with a 43-39 record. And Washington’s prospects don’t look much better next season, as the Boston Celtics are set to welcome back Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Toronto Raptors recently acquired Kawhi Leonard and the Philadelphia 76ers are, well, young and loaded with talent.
Wall, however, believes his squad is every bit as good as the East’s elite.
“I feel like we’re all equal,” Wall recently told Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Lee. “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.
Don’t confuse Wall’s words: He knows his rivals are great. He does believe each team has questions marks, though.
“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 General manager 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.”
Hey, you have to appreciate Wall’s confidence. Plus, what’s he supposed to say, ‘Boston’s gonna destroy us?’
For what it’s worth: The Wizards and the Celtics’ first game next season is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images
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