Wall has 'not lost a step,' says Wizards coach
MANILA, Philippines – Washington Wizards star John Wall still won’t see action even if the league resumes this season, but head coach Scott Brooks assured that the All-Star guard has “not lost a step.”
Wall has been sidelined since December 2018 due to a left heel injury and was forced to sit out the 2019-2020 season due to a ruptured Achilles he sustained when he slipped at home.
“He’s out, but doing well,” Brooks said in an online interview. ”Spoke to him 2-3 nights on the phone, we had a great conversation. He's upbeat, he's excited, he feels great, his body's great.
“The last time I've seen him on the court, his speed is there, he has not lost a step. He's gonna be a better player.”
The 29-year-old guard has been the focal point of the Wizards’ offense, along with his backcourt partner Bradley Beal, before his latest injury occurred.
Brooks believes that Wall will be in his best form when he returns next season and will wreak havoc with Beal.
“He's gonna comeback next year and be as good as ever. Him and Brad at the backcourt, when they're healthy, they're a problem. They're tough to stop and they can guard as well,” said Brooks.”
But aside from Bradley Beal’s resurgence this season, the Wizards mentor also praised the hard work of the young talents in his squad, including rookie forward Rui Hachimura.
The Japanese rook is one of the team’s consistent contributor, averaging 13.4 points per game along with 6 rebounds.
“Rui’s had a great year,” the Wizards coach said.
“(When) we started the season in training camp, he wasn't a starter. It was open, but he performed, and he fought for that spot and got the spot through his work and through his play in practice and exhibition.
“I think Rui is really gonna continue to improve. He loves the game, he works hard. It's exciting, his future's really exciting.”
According to Brooks, Hachimura, the 9th overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, has been working on his three-point range and will likely play different positions next season once the squad becomes whole and healthy.
The Wizards are holding a 24-40 record and 9th in the Eastern Conference before the NBA season got suspended in March 11.
But despite their slim chances for a playoff spot, Brooks is already looking for a big season next year with the returning John Wall and developing sophomores Troy Brown Jr and Isaac Bonga.
Brooks also believes the team’s adjustment in Wall’s return to the lineup will not be an issue.
“That might be a little bit (adjustment), but I don’t see it being a problem,” Brooks said. “When you can add a five-time All-Star (to the team), you're at a better place. We're a much better team if John and Brad are healthy together.
“And now Rui's development, (Troy Brown’s) development, Isaac (Bonga), all the other guys' development and add another player through the draft or maybe a couple, then add a free agent or two, we're gonna be right there where we need to be next year.” – Rappler.com