On Friday a trio of Wizards veterans acknowledged their trepidations about joining forces with John Wall before they did this season.
On Monday Wall was told about those comments, including Andre Miller saying, “I thought he was a goofball at first."
Wall also heard that Miller, Al Harrington and Marcin Gortat praised the young point guard after spending all or part of the past season with. “He’ll do anything to win,” was part of Harrington’s take.
The Wizards’ leading scorer and lone All-Star this season met with the media on Monday as the Wizards wrapped up their player exit interviews.
"I came in young. I was having fun, enjoying it,” Wall said.
Miller cited mentions of Wall’s dance moves, moves that received criticism by some for their supposed look-at-me approach, as a reason for his "goofball" opinion.
“When people are not on your team and they just [hear rumors] or what’s put in the newspaper, that’s probably what you think of people, what you hear around.”
After a 2-7 start this season, Washington went 42-31, finished fifth in the East, made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and reached the second round after defeating the Chicago Bulls in five games. Wall led Washington’s fast-breaking attack throughout and the 23-year-old point guard also took on more of a vocal leadership.
“I’m glad all that changed and their perception has changed of me when they got here and had the opportunity to be my teammate and see me play,” Wall continued. “That’s a big change for me. I can’t control what they take from what they see, but I’m glad when they had the opportunity to play with me and be on my team they seem something different."
Let’s go back to before the season began. We knew there was a playoff mandate from ownership. There was also a need to change perception.
Not so much of Wall the person – though apparently there was – but the idea that this organization was indeed an attractive destination. That notable free agents would want to become part of a team headlined by Washington’s young backcourt. After disposing the Bulls, battling the Indiana Pacers and receiving vocal endorsements from notable NBA voices like Charles Barkley, the Wizards seemingly have done that.
Having respected league veterans praise the face of the franchise and no longer consider him a goofball certainly helps the cause.