Wall shoots straight: 'I need to be in the playoffs'

Wall shoots straight: 'I need to be in the playoffs'
July 28, 2013, 7:00 am
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Should the Wizards have offered Wall a max deal?

By the end of this week, John Wall should have a full commitment from the Wizards.

They’re expected to make him a designated player by extending him a five-year deal, in addition to the $7.45 million he’ll earn in the final year of his scale contract for the 2013-14 season, that will be worth more than $80 million.

This is Wall’s commitment: “My whole goal, this is my fourth year, I need to be in the playoffs. There’s nothing more, nothing else needs to be said about that. I just need to be in the playoffs. Leaving the season early every year is not fun. It’s no excitement. Just go home and watch basketball.”

Wall made those comments several weeks ago in Las Vegas as he watched the Wizards compete in summer league. That’s also when CSN Washington first reported negotiations were underway on his deal between Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and Dan Fegan, Wall’s agent. 

The Wizards haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2008 and Wall never has won more than 29 games in a season since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2010. But everyone, from Grunfeld to Wall to coach Randy Wittman, believes the franchise is on the right track.

While they were last in the NBA in scoring a season ago, they were a top 10 defense. Finding offense isn't that difficult. Establishing defense, particularly with a losing team, is much harder. The Wizards were the only non-playoff team in the top 10. 

Training camp is almost two months away. Wall, who was benched because of a stress injury in his left knee last season, just competed in a four-day USA Basketball mini-camp. Bradley Beal is expected to be cleared to return from a stress injury in his lower right leg and finally partake in contact drills.

“My hard work and dedication went down the drain when I had to miss those first 33 games,” Wall said not playing until January last season before he completed his best effort as a scorer (18.5) and shooter (44.1%). “It kind of took me time to rebuild myself back to everything I installed and worked on that summer. My goal is to start the season. I wish it started tomorrow. You just got to go through the process and take your time.”