The last time the Washington Wizards had a 50-win season, they were known as the Bullets and led by Hall of Fame center Wes Unseld. During the 1978-79 regular season, Washington won 54 games as the defending NBA Champions, but they eventually lost their repeat bid in a rematch with the Seattle SuperSonics. Since then, the Bullets, and eventually the Wizards, have failed to reach the 50-win mark again, with the closest effort coming in 2014-15, when they won 46 games.
This has frustrated the team’s star, John Wall, to say the least.
Since Wall was selected by the Wizards with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the franchise has seen its shares of ups and downs, but it hasn’t quite lived up to its potential. The ’13-14 and ’14-15 seasons had fans on cloud nine, as the Wizards not only made the playoffs, but dispatched the Bulls and Raptors in the first rounds, respectively. But the goal isn’t to win in the first round, as John Wall readily points out in a new interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Andrew Sharp:
Success for us is getting over 50 wins. The Finals, that’s our ultimate goal. And we gotta take the next step, make it to the Eastern Conference finals. Because you never know what could happen in those situations. You could be one injury away. I mean, you don’t wish anybody gets injured, but it can happen. It’s the same thing that happened to us.
You have to respect his honesty in admitting that it might take the other team dealing with big injuries for the Wizards to have a chance at making the NBA Finals, but overall this is an extremely positive and optimistic interview. From his relationship with Bradley Beal (hey, brothers fight!) to the x-factor that Markieff Morris represents (he can be an All-Star, too!), Wall is saying all the right things that Wiz fans should want to hear.