Earlier today, we posted part one of an interview with Kyle Weidie of TruthAboutIt.net, a Washington Wizards blog, regarding John Wall and his forthcoming arrival in Washington, DC. If you haven’t seen part one yet, check it out. If you have, here’s the second part of the interview.
Already on your site, I’ve seen John Wall mixtapes and photoshops and it reminds me quite a bit of the giddiness UK fans felt when Wall signed last May. What are Wizards fans expecting out of John Wall?
I don’t think Wizards fans have put any expectations on the amount of wins Wall might bring. Unlike Kentucky’s past, we’re pretty much used to losing. Right now, Wiz fans are still on the high of winning the No. 1 pick in the first place, and are slowly transitioning to the realization that a can’t miss prospect who has separated himself as “the” guy in this year’s draft (unlike when the Wizards took Kwame Brown first overall) will be dazzling the hometown crowd for years to come.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of John Wall Mania … or Wall-Nuts …. going on around D.C., but I think people are going to give the kid a chance to get on the court and do his thing before hurling expectations his way. Wizards fans are just happy to be here right now.
Of course, that being said, a lot of people believe that Wall is the beginning of a huge turn around for this franchise … but they are smart enough to know he will need a lot of help.
The second most popular topic on your site of late has been Gilbert Arenas. How do you see his future playing out and do you think he and Wall can thrive together?
Yea, that guy. He’s gone from a lovably candid, budding superstar, to wearing a ‘$111 million man’ label/stigma while also dealing with the injury bug, something which severely hazed his shiny star chrome, to the gun-toting prankster idiot who has become one of the most polarizing figures in NBA basketball. Arenas fell pretty hard and fast from glory.
I will tell you that Gilbert Arenas is not a thug and the malicious miscreant some have painted him to be. He’s a nice, genuine guy who made a horribly immature mistake, which became compounded by his inability to realize how consequences play out in the real world instead of that million dollar head of his.
D.C. is a city of second chances and nice guys deserve second chances. Many fans are ready to welcome Arenas back and the new owner, Ted Leonsis, has called for people to re-embrace Arenas as a person and a basketball player. So far so good … unless Arenas starts interfering with the development of Wall. People have an understanding, especially because he’s a point guard, that this is John’s team now. Gilbert better get in the back seat and follow orders.
I honestly believe the two players will work well on the court together and previously wrote an extensive piece supporting this belief. And yes, there will obviously be an adjustment period where kinks, etc. are addressed … people will need to be patient.
What else are you expecting to see happen this off-season with the Wizards? They have the 30th and 35th pick in this year’s Draft, who are they taking a look at and could they be active on Draft night on the trading market?
I expect the Wizards to keep all their current picks (unless they use one to trade up), or perhaps attempt to get even more draft picks, as has been the stated goal of Leonsis and coach Flip Saunders, and keep all the players they draft. This team wants young players to develop along with the young players they have already — Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Al Thornton … and of course, Arenas is only 29.
I also expect the Wizards to be quiet on this summer’s free-agent market. With close to $20 million in expected cap room, don’t even look for them to go after, and likely overpay, second tier free-agents like Carlos Boozer, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire (and the 1st tier free-agents currently have no interest of coming to play in Washington).
The Wizards might have to sign some players since only six are expected to be under contract on July 1st, in addition to the draft picks. But the philosophy of Leonsis is to develop young talent and strike the free-agent market when the time is right, not to throw money at another team’s aging talent who really won’t be able to help during the rebuilding stage the Wizards are in.
The dream of some Wizards fans: saving money to sign Baltimore’s Carmelo Anthony in the Summer of 2011.
Has the John Wall Dance caught on in DC yet? Any chance we’ll see Mr. President break it out at any state dinners?
I don’t think it’s caught on yet. But we have a rich music scene in D.C….. even our own homegrown style of music, Go-Go … and an up-and-coming rapper from the area, Wale. With Reebok, which has a history of placing rappers in ad campaigns with basketball players, it might be only a matter of time before we see Wall doing his dance in a commercial, which would have everyone in D.C. doing it along with him. Hell, I may even try to interview some fans before a game and see if they can do the John Wall dance. As far as the President? Well, he’s a Bulls fan … I’m not sure I want him doing the John Wall Dance … but he’s welcome to come see my Wizards play again any time.