John Wall joined ESPN’s “First Take” by phone this morning, but before we get to what the Wizards point guard said, check out the graphic in the lower left of the screenshot above. The photo of Wall in the Wizards’ old uniform is different than the one an ESPN spokesman told Dan would be removed from the network’s photographic database last month. Now we know there are others. This could be a long fight, but we’ll remain diligent.
Stephen A. Smith asked Wall about playing for a team the past few years that was “so close to irrelevant I didn’t even know if you would stay in the nation’s capital.”
“It’s been tough,” Wall said. “We basically were the team that [everybody] thought was the laughingstock of the league at times … always being on Shaqtin’ A Fool or Not Top Ten. It was tough. But I think the organization did a great job of drafting some great, young, talented players. I think they did a great job of adding some veteran guys, and the guys that have been here for four years did a great job of developing their games and getting better.
“But last year when I was injured, just seeing how the team played hard and how they were together as a group, that was the first time I’d seen us being a whole team. Whenever I’m healthy and Nene’s healthy, and we put everything together, we can be a playoff team. So that basically made me a reason to want to stay.”
Skip Bayless then asked how difficult it is to deal with the Bulls’ defense.
“They’ve got one of the top-two, top-three defenses in the league,” Wall said. “I think we’ve got the right pieces to do a great job against it, but it’s a different atmosphere we’re getting into of playing in the playoffs. Some of us guys are new guys and beginners to it, but we’re just worried about ourselves as the Washington Wizards, going their playing our basketball, playing team defense and moving the ball, and having different guys leading us in scoring. We just let the game do the talking.”
Finally, Smith asked about the key for the Wizards in the series.
“The key for us is just playing defense,” Wall said. “I think when we’re playing defense and everybody’s on the same page, defensively, we let our defense lead the way for us. We’re a pretty good team.”