Coming into the 2017-18 season, the Washington Wizards had high expectations and their star players made some bold statements talking themselves up.
John Wall and Bradley Beal declared that they were the best team in the Eastern Conference even though they’d achieved no success in the playoffs.
Wall even boasted that he was the best point guard in the east but he and the Wizards didn’t back up their huge claims last season.
They failed to live up to their own hype and finished eighth in the regular season standings.
That saw them come up against the number one seed Toronto Raptors in the first round and suffer elimination in six games.
Learning from mistakes
Going into next season, Wall is keen to take a different approach and wants to do his talking on the court from now on.
“We want to go out with a different mindset and a different focus,” Wall said on NBC Sports Washington’s “Wizards Tipoff” podcast.
“We’re not trying to go in and think we’re a team that has already established something and got respect from people.
“We have to earn that respect and that means going out and competing every night against the good teams or the bad teams.”
Washington often performed well against the better teams last year but lost too many games against the so-called lesser outfits.
But their All-Star guard is confident that they can perform better next season and iron out their inconsistencies.
The team has made some interesting moves to improve the roster this summer and they now have more depth with the additions of Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and Austin Rivers.
“I think it gives us the opportunity where we don’t have to play as many minutes. That’s the key,” Wall said of Washington’s added depth.
“At the end of the year, you kind of fall short because you’re fatigued. Nobody uses that as an excuse. You play and try to get into the best shape possible.
“But if you’re playing 24 minutes, the whole half, and then 24 minutes and the whole half, you kind of get tired at some point.
“I think those guys can take a little of the burden and pressure off of us at times.”
With LeBron James heading to the Western Conference, the east is now more open than ever and the Wizards are hoping to be one of the teams to take advantage.
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