John Wall looks for a comeback season

The best move during the offseason for the Los Angeles Clippers was the free agent signing of point guard John Wall. The addition of Wall can be a major boost in guard play for the Clippers, considering his career resume. With Wall being a seven-time NBA All-Star, the upside and energy he can provide to the Clippers can be special.

There are many people who are predicting such a scenario. Wall, however, has some making up to do, considering that he lost the past few seasons to injury, and was being held out by the Houston Rockets during the 2020-21 season. There are questions about whether Wall can still be impactful.

Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall talks about mental health during the team’s media day event on Sept. 26, 2022. Photo by News4usonline

Tyronn Lue, the head coach of the Clippers, already sees the impact Wall has on the team. On a team that is already talented and has star power, Wall fits right in. Becoming a leader in the locker early on, he is finding a role on the team.

“I think they respect him, I think when you get a guy like John who is a perennial all-star, does things the right way, plays the right way… guys respect him for what he’s done and how he plays,” said Lue.

Being vocal and becoming a leader on the Clippers is nothing new for Wall. Spending the better part of his career playing for the Washington Wizards, Wall was the main star of the team. The leadership role was something Wall had already spent time in and had to actually carry and represent a franchise.

By joining the Clippers, Wall is taking on a different role by not being the main star, but the leadership qualities are something he has already brought to the Clippers.

John Wall playing defense against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Photo by Rashad Griffin/News4usonline

With Wall making an impact in the locker, his play on the court is what will be significant for the Clippers. His style of play can complement everyone on the Clippers and make them better. Pushing the ball in fast break situations, being excellent in pick and roll, and being an overall facilitator will benefit the Clippers.

Wall and his skillset have already been appreciated by players on the court with him. Star player Paul George described Wall’s presence on the court as opening up a lot for the team.

“What John brings is that full-court burst, transition play where you have to guard him 94 feet,” George said. “So that opens up a lot of our shooters, for myself, Kawhi (Leonard), and all of our perimeter guys.”

The game opens up a whole lot more with Wall on the court. Pushing the pace in transition the way that he can is something Leonard and George have not had in their Clippers tenure. Wall might not have the same burst of speed at this point in his career, but he is still talented enough to make the game easier for his new teammates.

So far, Wall has been demonstrating the upside he can bring to the team. In a Clippers’ 119-117 preseason home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 9, Wall played well in his 20 minutes on the floor.

He finished with 20 points and three assists in his first real action with George and Leonard. The chemistry between the star players is still a work in progress, but despite the defeat, it was an encouraging sign to see Wall becoming comfortable on the floor again.

“I think you got more of me, me being more aggressive, attacking the rim, and pushing the pace,” Wall remarked.  

Finding his form again on the floor again will take time but playing with the star duo in the Clippers should make things a lot easier. Players, like Leonard, want Wall to succeed and be himself. Leonard acknowledged the effort Wall made to make the game easier.

“Him being himself, coming into the game and not deferring and attacking, that is what he did for us,” Leonard said.

With the preseason ending, the regular season is here. All eyes will be on Wall. Whether he comes off the bench or starts, Wall’s impact can lead the Clippers a long way if it comes together. He is no longer a major difference-maker to turn a team around, but his leadership and current talent level can help the Clippers in areas they have been lacking in past seasons.