John Wall eager to lead Wizards to next level

John Wall eager to lead Wizards to next level
September 27, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Wall, Wizards see playoff opportunity in 2013-14

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

At this point one year ago, John Wall was on the outside looking in.

The Wizards were about to begin training camp but Wall was on the sideline with a stress injury to his right knee. It forced him to miss all of the preseason and the first 33 regular-season games.

"Coming into this situation last year I wasn't healthy so I really didn't want to be much of a leader," said Wall, who will begin training camp Saturday at George Mason University in nearby Fairfax, Va. "I feel like I can be more of a vocal leader, a leader who leads by example."

Wall worked on his jump shot, of course, and his floater. He also hopes coach Randy Wittman will allow him to post up some so he can begin to maximize his efficiency after signing a five-year, $80 million extension in August. 

The Wizards have the maximum 15 players under contract for when the regular season begins, but F Josh Childress, C D'or Fischer, F Pops Mensah-Bonsu and G Xavier Silas have accepted camp invites. 

On the 2013-14 team's identity: "A defensive team that likes to get up and down the court, an up-tempo-type team. Like how you saw us last year."

On difference between this team and others since he was a rookie in 2010: "Ooh. … We had talent but I don't think we just meshed together and played too much as team. And we didn't have concepts of wanting to do it defensively. I think we just all (were) individual, one-on-one players to be honest. Last year's and this year's team is kind of the same. We just added a couple of more pieces that can help us." 

On developing a three-point shot: "I don't really think the three is going to open up my game but it'll be great to add. … Just being able to knock down mid-range and make it tough in pick-and-roll situations where guys got to go over the top instead of go underneath (the pick)."

On Oct. 12 preseason game against Bulls PG Derrick Rose, who will be playing for the first time in more than a year: "I think he's going to be the same (player), if not better than he was before."

On if he finally got to train with Gary Payton this summer: "I didn't get time to. I just talked to him. I was so busy with China, doing other things with Adidas and coming back here, making sure I'm healthy, making sure I'm working with my teammates, trying to organize us a little mini-camp I didn't have an opportunity to."

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