John Wall: The Comeback Kid
It’s been over a year and a half since the NBA world has seen John Wall on the hardwood. The 13-year veteran is ready for a fresh start as Wall is officially a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. Having a lot of time to get his physical and mental health into a safe space, Wall is ready to compete at a high level again.
Over the last four seasons, it’s been a downhill battle for John Wall. Let’s date back to the 2018-19 NBA season when Wall was looking to lead the Washington Wizards back to playoff contention. In late December, he was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a left heel injury. A month later, Wall would rupture his left Achilles, placing him in a more difficult situation. For a player like Wall who continued to emerge as one of the NBA’s popular faces, the future of his career was potentially in jeopardy.
For the Wizards, the team had to figure out how to play without their point guard. Luckily, the team still had Bradley Beal as their dynamic scorer. Beal had one of his best seasons during the 2019-20 campaign, averaging 30.5 points per game which included a few monster 50+ performances. Unfortunately, missing his backcourt mate, the Wizards struggled for playoff positioning without the impact of John Wall. However, the dominant backcourt would never play a game with one another again. After the 2020 NBA Bubble, the Wizards would trade Wall to the Houston Rockets, allowing Beal to be the new face of the franchise.
Heading into Houston, Wall had nearly two years to recover and he was ready to see the floor again. Despite all of the turmoil of the Rockets vs James Harden saga, Wall’s mindset was to produce at a high level and show the world that he was still elite. With that being said, the Achilles rupture slowed Wall down a little bit. Although he didn’t have the quick first step that he once had, he still made his way to the basket with his size and slight athleticism.
Wall averaged 20.6 points along with seven assists in 40 games played in 2020-21. The highlight of his season was back-to-back 30+ point games in March against the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only did Wall show to still score at a high level but also distributed the rock and set up teammates for success. While the Rockets had a disappointing season that included a 20-game losing streak, Wall was still able to show the world that he could produce for any playoff team.
At this point in his career, John Wall is aging and may only have a few years left of his prime. The Rockets’ franchise understands the importance that he can bring to a contender. Houston regrouped with the drafting of players like Jalen Green while also trading for Kevin Porter Jr. during the middle of the previous season. As the Rockets got younger, Wall was not in their future plans.
Given the great season he had in his first season in Houston, sitting Wall for the entire 2021-22 season wasn’t the wisest decision. There could have been a chance for him to mentor the younger players while on the court and show them what it takes to win at a high level. Instead, it was another missed season for Wall as fans were questioning what was next for the former All-Star. The good news about Wall during the season was that he stayed ready and kept himself prepared for any situation to happen. During this off-season, the Rockets found a deal for Wall to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Wall going to Los Angeles is the perfect situation. Not only is he preparing for his comeback but the Clippers are as well. Last season, Kawhi Leonard missed the entire year due to a sprained ACL. Paul George also missed significant time and the Clippers weren’t able to advance past the Play-In. Throughout the off-season, Wall has opened up about his struggles with mental health and how his past injury seasons placed him in a dark situation. Luckily, Wall can put the dark days behind him and place his focus on elevating a winning culture.
Wall’s role on the Clippers will be simple. While many believe that he will be competing with Reggie Jackson as the starting point guard, the role has Wall’s name written over it. Besides, Reggie Jackson can be a great scoring punch for the second unit. Wall will take pressure off George and Leonard as the third option on offense. If he allows himself to be comfortable from the perimeter, his shot making could set the tone for the Clipper offense.
Comeback season is in full effect for John Wall with the Los Angeles Clippers. Tyronn Lue is a coach that can be trusted to place Wall in the best position for success. It’s the perfect situation for him moving forward as the Clippers are re-emerging as title favorites.
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