” A lot of people have forgotten who I am, but it won’t take long to wake them up. »
The least we can say is that John Wall has already activated revenge mode and that he is especially eager to return to competition, more than a year after his last official match. It was April 23, 2021 (27 points and 13 assists), during a duel between the Rockets and… the Clippers.
Clippers who, fifteen months later, have just agreed to relaunch the career of the five-time All-Star, forgotten for more than three years. In question: his two big injuries to the hip and then to the Achilles tendon between 2018 and 2019, as well as his shelving in Houston in 2021/22.
The Clippers’ new deckhand
Now 31, John Wall must therefore prove himself in the league again and it is in Los Angeles that he has chosen to settle for the next two years (and 13 million dollars), after having negotiated a buyout in Texas.
” It is a leading organization “, he answers, when asked to justify the choice of his new team. ” There are great players here, great teammates, great guys. I will have the opportunity to play with Kawhi [Leonard] and I have the feeling that there is a super culture, which I was looking for. I will also have the opportunity to play with players who will allow me to step back and develop my game. [différemment]while helping them [à gagner]. »
Satisfied with not not be Batman every night for the Clippers to win John Wall was still able to average 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 2020/21. Correct statistics, although tarnished by his clumsiness (only 40% on shots and 32% at 3-pts), within a franchise which was then on the way to the worst record in the NBA.
But for the first time in his career, the N°1 of the Draft 2010 will discover a new role: that of lieutenant (of luxury), forced to put himself at the service of the collective and the pair Kawhi Leonard – Paul George. Without departing from what has always been its strength in the league, that is to say carrying the ball, provoking and creating differences.
” They always want me to be myself, to be aggressive, to take my shots open “, he explains on this subject. ” I think sometimes teams will be focused on Kawhi [Leonard] and paul [George], which will give me the opportunity to take the game on my own. It should be fun. »
Bounce back after a very delicate period
On paper, the marriage between John Wall and Los Angeles has everything to work and the veteran leader can only be optimistic when discussing the 2022/23 financial year.
” You will see, everyone will see “, he warns again, when asked about his expectations for next season. ” I know a lot of people say that [je parle beaucoup]but I also know what I’ve been through for the past three years. »
John Wall here refers to the loss of his mother and grandmother, an episode ” devastating ” to his eyes. Physically and psychologically injured, he therefore went through “ the darkest time ” of his life. Even if this event at least had the merit of ” demonstrate how much [il est] solid “.
And as he finally puts it very well, “ everything that [veut] » now John Wall, « it’s playing ” basketball. His ” sanctuary as he calls it. By taking advantage in particular of the matches on the national antenna with the Clippers to remember the good memories of those who have already buried him. More particularly those which will take place opposite the neighbor Angeleno…
“ It’s going to be a great battle and I especially think it will be a great opportunity for me. “, he believes as well, concerning the LA derby “ A lot of people will be able to see me playing on TV, with Kawhi [Leonard] and all the guys, because [les Lakers] have many matches [en antenne nationale] and because I love being on stage. When the lights are shining, it’s the best time to perform, so I’m excited about that. »