The Washington Wizards haven’t won 50 games since the 1978-79 season but came extremely close to ending that last year.
They fell just one game short as they ended the campaign with a 49-33 record, losing in the final game to the Miami Heat as head coach Scott Brooks rested his star players for the playoffs.
Superstar John Wall, however, is determined to put that right this time around.
As the leader of the team, Wall has high expectations of himself and his teammates and is never afraid to set big targets.
In an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Adam Epstein at the Wizards media day on Monday, he was unequivocal about his goals for the upcoming campaign.
“I think we’re going to be great. [We’ll] definitely get 50-plus wins this year, we fell one game short of that. [We’ll] get to the Eastern Conference Finals, we fell one game short of that and other than that everything else is going to fall in place,” he said.
When asked what the most important thing would be for him, he said: “Getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. Being in the second round a couple of times and falling short, you want to get past that hump.”
The Wizards took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the second round of the playoffs and could have made it through but for Wall having one of the worst games of his career.
The point guard shot just 8-of-23 from the field and 1-of-8 from three-point range as he went cold in the second half.
Despite a good season overall, the four-time All-Star said their failure to make it to the conference finals meant it wasn’t a satisfying year for the team.
This is another sign of the All-NBA guard showing his maturity and leadership qualities for Washington.
The 27-year-old is committed to bringing success to the nation’s capital and underlined this by signing a four-year, $170 million contract extension this summer.
Winning over 50 games is certainly achievable for the Wizards but they are likely to have to overcome either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Celtics to make it to the ECF.
Both teams pulled off the blockbuster trade of the offseason as Kyrie Irving headed for Boston with Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder moving in the opposite direction, so it’ll be interesting to see how they both adjust.
They are considered the favourites to meet at the summit of the east again, but Wall and the Wizards will be keen to have a say.