The Wizards are in the midst of a five-game win streak, one that’s coincided with the absence of Wall, who had knee surgery last week and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. That has led some to wonder whether Washington is better without him on the court.
Asked about such thoughts during an interview on The Jump on Tuesday, Wall said:
“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.”
“It was more just shock to hear it from him, understanding he gets the most assists from me and the most spoon-fed baskets ever,” Wall told ESPN’s Michael Smith.
Of the 474 points scored by Gortat this season, 136 of them (28.7 percent) have come via an assist from Wall, which is the highest percentage from Wall for anyone on the team, according to NBA Advanced Stats.
On both The Jump and SportsCenter, Wall also said if teammates have concerns with his style of play, they should come to him.
“I just think if you have a problem with anyone as a man and the principles I stand on, you talk face-to-face,” he told The Jump. “They have my number, they can see me in person. If we have any discomforts we can talk.”
On Saturday, All-Star Bradley Beal called it “comical” to hear people say the Wizards are better without Wall. Two nights earlier, Beal raised eyebrows after a 122-119 win against the Raptors by saying “everybody eats” when the Wizards pass the ball.
As for the surgery, Wall says he’s still on crutches and waiting to get stitches out but overall is feeling great as the rehab begins.
“I’m very positive through this whole process, just mentally strong,” he told The Jump. “Been through it before. It was just to a point where I knew I couldn’t be myself and I just wanted to get myself healthy. I know I got a long career where that I want to play, and to jeopardize it on this season, I thought it was best to have surgery.”