John Wall sat down with Jim Rome today on Jim Rome is Burning and talked about the NBA Finals and his rookie year. In his rookie year, Wall averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting behind Blake Griffin. Rome asked Wall what the toughest part of his rookie year was. Wall responded saying, “It was seeing how teams would guard me especially the good defensive teams and fighting through injuries like when I sprained my foot which was prolly my worst injury of my career…I hate missing games.” Wall missed 12 games with foot and knee issues but it was good seeing him come back and being a leader for the team despite the team’s struggles. Rome asked Wall which was tougher, the on court or off court situations. Wall felt the on court issues were toughest especially with having to make adjustments in game and quarter to quarter. The league has slowly evolved into a league with a lot of quality point guards like league MVP Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, and of course 2 time MVP Steve Nash. Every night it was a new and different challenge for Wall and he responded although some nights were tougher than others.
However, as a Wizards fan, it was awesome to hear him talk about areas he wants to improve when next year starts. He realizes his turnovers and jump shot were an issue. He is working to cut down the number and also improving his jump shot to make him tougher to guard as he is lightning quick. He wants to develop every year and get better like Rose has.
He also spoke about getting leadership advice from some of the various veterans on the team like Josh Howard, Kirk Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas really helped him become a better leader. Then, following the trades, Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Mo Evans pushed him to get better and be more vocal especially at practice.
Overall, it was a very good interview and showed why the Wizards are in good hands with John Wall as the face of their franchise. He has the intangibles to help turn the team around and make them better starting next year.