HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — It took some time, but he Washington Wizards have finally expunged the knucklehead factor from their locker room. Over the last 20 months, they’ve sent Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche packing.
Now, it’s time to see what John Wall is made of.
The 2010 No. 1 pick had a disappointing sophomore season, showing little (if any) improvement from his rookie year. The Wizards were better (especially defensively) with Wall on the bench, and they finished with the league’s second-worst record (20-46).
The 2012-13 Wizards will still be a young squad, but they’ve got vets Nene and Emeka Okafor up front. Wall’s supporting cast will no longer be burdensome, and it’s time for him to start leading his team forward. He’s got his sights set high, aiming to vault the Wizards from 14th in the Eastern Conference all the way into the top eight.
As blogged by Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post, Wall told Dime Magazine that he wants the Wizards to make the playoffs, and he wants to be the “savior” that gets them there.
“You wanna do it all,” Wall told Dime. “You wanna be an All-Star. You wanna be one of the top five best point guards. You wanna make the playoffs, and get this city back to where they know they can be. When you have the playoffs, I heard how crazy it could be when everybody is wearing all white. That’s what I want to get to. I want to be the savior.”
Summer is the time for big goals and promises, but Wall certainly has the talent to be one of the best point guards in the league. And while his career is off to a slow start, he’s certainly not alone when it comes to No. 1 picks. LeBron James and Dwight Howard each missed the playoffs their first two seasons in the league.
Of course, both James and Howard came much closer than Wall has thus far. Even if Wall and the Wizards don’t make the playoffs next season, coming close would be a step forward.
First playoffs for No. 1 picks since 2002
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