Tuesday, the Washington Wizards were defeated by the Orlando Magic 124-116, despite John Wall dropping a career high 52 points on 18/30 shooting.
Similar to their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, the Wizards’ allowed their opponent to score 60+ points in the first half and came into the 2nd half facing a 10+ point deficit.
Despite Wall’s unconscious scoring efforts, the Wizards’ as a team treated this game as if it was an All-Star game by the way they played or rather didn’t play defense. Almost mirror to the what looked like a 1,000 fans in attendance at the Verizon Center, the players on the Wizards looked uninterested. Almost every spectacular play by John Wall was quickly countered with an easy bucket by the Orlando Magic. It was truly a game of 1 vs 5 out on the court last night.
This is not to say Wall didn’t contribute to the defensive woes because he did. The only negative you can take from his night was allowing Elfrid Payton to drop a career high 25 points off the bench. Wall only deserves partial blame however, because again he was a one man show on and off the court.
To further clarify, after the game had ended and the players went to their respective locker rooms, John Wall faced questions from the media… alone. Wall not only carried his team with a 52 point performance, but also was the only player in the Wizard locker room that would field any questions from the media.
His counterpart in the back-court, Bradley Beal who is receiving $127 million from the Wizards and was quoted as saying he’s an “alpha” on the court, didn’t feel inclined to stay. Veterans like Marcin Gortat, Marcus Thornton, and Jason Smith also didn’t feel inclined to stay either. By the time Wall was done answering questions and was done working with trainers, he was the last to exit the locker room.
I find this to be a huge problem, because that shows a lot of the guys in the locker room run when the going gets tough. There is no pride or a sense of accountability for their bad play and John Wall had to take the brunt of it all. Wall facing questions and being the last to leave speaks volumes on his leadership skills, but also speaks volumes of the players that surround him as well. The Wizards still are missing the day’s of Paul Pierce who was that veteran leader that held the team accountable and took the blame when things weren’t going their way. Unfortunately, Wall looks to be the lone leader on this Wizards team.
If roles were reversed and Wall was the only player not to answer questions, he would more than likely be scrutinized for it. Instead this whole event raises the question, what is this Wizards’ team made of? We will surely start to see it if losses continue to come, in the nation’s capitol.