The Washington Wizards will soon have the chance to contend for a spot in the postseason, but if healthy, should the team let John Wall play?
John Wall has not suited up for the Washington Wizards since December of 2018 due to surgery on a heel injury, soon followed by a ruptured Achilles tendon. Without him, Washington has not accumulated much all-around success the past two seasons.
With Wall out the entirety of this season, the Wizards landed just outside of the postseason as the 9-seed, with a lackluster 24-40 record. Although any hope of them making the playoffs had seemingly vanished to this point, the NBA’s new plan for return involves sending the team to Orlando with 21 other teams to compete for a spot.
With this, should John Wall return for the Wizards having been invited to the NBA’s return and potentially competing for a spot in the playoffs? Health is clearly the most apparent variable into any decision with the guard, and Fred Katz of The Athletic recently reported that Wall assured “I’m 110 percent. I’m healthy.”
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Upon hearing this news, “some Eastern Conference teams” have planned for Wall’s potential return to the court at the NBA’s July 31st return date, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. Regardless, as much as everyone would love to see John Wall back on the court soon, both he and the organization have made it clear that the guard has rightfully made no plans to return this season.
In that same tweet from Katz, he stated, “I will answer the follow-up, since he and the organization have said it 392 times: No, he does not plan on playing this season, even if there are more Wizards regular-season games to be played.”
Although detrimental to any chance of the team competing in this resumed season, letting Wall sit this one out is the right move. The injuries Wall suffered were much more severe than a typical sprained ankle or jammed finger, and bringing him back in this irregular scenario is a definite no because of the amplified risk.
The guard has not played in over a year and a half, and playing him for eight pressure-filled regular-season games with everything on the line would be a significant mistake. Letting Beal and the healthy Wizards play the rest of this season out and adding a healthy Wall at the start of next season is a no-brainer.
Risking another horrific injury to their star player would set the Wizards back another few years, especially with what they could accomplish from the start next season. The last time John Wall and Bradley Beal both played a majority of the season healthy, the Wizards were a 4-seed. That was back in the 2016-17 season, and Wall has only played 72 total regular-season games since then.
If the Wizards let Wall sit now and heal even more than his self proclaimed “110 percent” status, they could be genuine contenders next season. Due to his injuries, many have forgotten just how phenomenal of a point guard John Wall was and could have a chip on his shoulder in 2020-21 to remind everyone.
Whether the Washington Wizards end up making or missing the postseason this year, allowing Wall to remain sidelined is the only move to make in this situation.