John Wall had a few things to get off his chest on Tuesday. Wonderfully talented, but devastatingly thin-skinned, the Wizards’ All-Star point guard flung a few light barbs in response to his Wizards teammates’ ambiguous comments following their fifth straight win.
Since Wall suffered his left knee injury, the phrase, “Everybody Eats” has slid off the tongue of his teammates. It alluded to the Wizards newfound ball movement. Between Jan. 30, when Wall was ruled out, and Feb. 5th, the Wizards earned the highest assist rate in the NBA. What Wall heard was Everybody Hates John.
“It’s fun. It’s the game of basketball. Everybody can share the wealth,” reserve forward Kelly Oubre Jr. said with a smile following the Wizards’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. “Everybody eats, you know.”
Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump, Wall continued digging his heels into a confrontational stance with his teammates.
“It was funny to me at first, just to see some of the things that people were saying and certain type of comments. But I’ve seen these guys put in a lot of work every day, and we always say the motto is next man up no matter what. I think we moved the ball well early in the season, we just couldn’t make shots. And we couldn’t defend at all. I think now guys are stepping up and the first unit and second unit are playing very well.
“But it was kind of shocking to hear a couple people say the ball is moving a lot better, when that’s what I pride myself off of, being more happy when my teammates are scoring than I am.”
Beal cleared up any rumors of the phrase being a shot at Wall over the weekend, but Wall still took offense to a subversive Marcin Gortat tweet dating back to their Feb. 1 victory over. When asked by SC6 host Michael Smith about the tweet, Wall opted against delivering a self-deprecating answer or an olive branch. Instead, he threw daggers at Gortat with a biting remark of his own.
Unbelievable win tonight ! Great “team” victory!
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 2, 2018
“He gets the most assists from me and the most spoon-fed baskets ever” pic.twitter.com/aOk4mxkNpo
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 6, 2018
Just, the way he put the team, you know what I mean? The way he put the team in the little, exclamation points, and I’m like, ‘whoa.’
But it is what it is, everybody has their own opinion. They say what they say. I know what I do, and what I bring to a team. I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists per game, I’m very proud for it, and finding my teammates and getting these guys easy shots.
It was more just shocking to hear from him, and understanding that he gets the most assists from me, and the most spoon-fed baskets ever.
There are no lies to be found. Gortat has received the highest percentage of his buckets from Wall than any other teammate, but the insertion of “spoon-fed” into his comment felt like an unnecessary dig.
Wall isn’t quite at war with his teammates, but he’s firing cannonball shots into his own bunker. As usual, he is being extraordinarily petty. He sounded off on the extensions received by Reggie Jackson, turned down an Adidas deal so he could negotiate for “Harden money,” and disclosed that he and Beal have “a tendency to dislike one another” last summer. Simply put, he’s a challenging personality to get along with. Wall’s relationship with Beal has been antagonistic, but he’s never put another teammate in his crosshairs like this.
However, Wall’s struggles and Beal’s populist leadership style appears to have resulted in a locker room schism. Wall’s rehab is in the first week of a 6-8 week timetable. Keep your ears peeled for how this one plays out over the next two months.
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