John Wall thinks the Wizards deserve to be among Eastern Conference's elite

Charlie DiSturco
NBC Sports Washington
<p>The Washington Wizards are often overlooked when discussing who will win the Eastern Conference after LeBron James' departure, and John Wall believes that they should be grouped with the conference's best.</p>

John Wall thinks the Wizards deserve to be among Eastern Conference's elite

The Washington Wizards are often overlooked when discussing who will win the Eastern Conference after LeBron James' departure, and John Wall believes that they should be grouped with the conference's best.

The Eastern Conference race has been blown wide open since LeBron James' departure for the Lakers. The Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors are often considered the favorites to win the conference.

But if you ask John Wall, the Washington Wizards also deserve to be in that grouping.

"I feel like we're all equal," Wall told Yahoo. "... None of them won a championship. This is no knock on no other team. Don't get me wrong ... Y'all might've been to the Eastern Conference finals, where we haven't been to, but none of y'all were going to the Finals.

"It was one guy going to the Finals. Ain't nobody separated from nothing."

The Wizards were marred with chemistry issues and the injury of its star player, Wall, last season. They did make the playoffs as an eight seed before falling to the Raptors in the first round. 

The Raptors, Celtics and 76ers were the first three seeds, respectively, in 2017. The latter of the three lost to Boston in the conference semis while the Raptors were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who then beat the Celtics in seven to advance to the NBA Finals. 

It was a path that always seemed to repeat - no team could dethrone LeBron James.

That's Wall's point. With James gone, every team's chances have increased exponentially.

The Wizards seemed to address its chemistry issues by shipping Marcin Gortat, who often seemed to be in the middle of team issues, to the Los Angeles Clippers for Austin Rivers. 

General manager Ernie Grunfeld then added veterans Jeff Green and Dwight Howard. Howard's had the reputation of being a disruptive force before, but Wall persuaded him to come to D.C., and the latter has said he wants to stay with the Wizards until his eventual retirement. 

Though there have been other additions and departures, the Wizards return most of its main rotational players including Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr., among others. 

"I think this is deepest team we've had and I feel very comfortable with this team," Wall told Yahoo. "... I feel like it's all cluttered.

"I put us right there."

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