The Wizards are scalding-hot in John Wall’s absence, going 10-4 in 14 games since losing their star point guard to knee surgery.
The takes have been predictable, with pundits everywhere trying to reconcile how they could be this good without their team leader, leading many to beg the obvious question: Are the Wizards somehow better without Wall?
As ridiculous as that may be, why are the Wizards winning so much without Wall?
“Well, we’re definitely not a better team without him,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, who is presented by Greenberg and Bederman. “John is a dynamic point guard, is one of the best in the league.”
“Unfortunately for him and us,” Brooks told The Sports Junkies, “he’s been battling that knee all year long and hasn’t been up to his standard of play this year. But I’ll give him credit: He’s a warrior. He plays. He’s tough. He didn’t want to sit out. We thought that he was gonna have some good days and bad days, and we decided that it was best for him to have the surgery.”
“We’re 10-4 without him. We’re playing good basketball,” he said. “Some of it early on was probably the schedule — it was easier early on, but we did win those games and some of them were on the road. But we’ve had some good wins.”
The Wizards are in the midst of a hellish gauntlet. Including their past three games (in which they went 2-1 against the 76ers, Bucks and Warriors), the Wizards play 12 consecutive teams who meet the current playoff threshold, with games against the Raptors, Pacers (twice), Heat (twice), Pelicans, Timberwolves, Celtics and Spurs still to come before they finally get a “break” against the 33-28 Nuggets.
“We’re definitely playing a little different and we had to,” Brooks said. “John, and the way Tomas [Satoransky] plays, he cannot duplicate the way John plays. We had to figure out ways as a staff, because we knew this time he was gonna miss anywhere from six to eight weeks, is the timeline. That’s a lot of games. That’s a big chunk of the season.”
“We could not expect Tomas to be the point guard that John is, so we had to make sure that we had some more ball movement,” he said. “Otto has stepped up, Brad has stepped up, Kelly has stepped up — a lot of guys have stepped up and played well, and we’ve got some good wins. I’m proud of our guys. It’s not easy playing without one of your best players, and the best players in the league, but we’ve played well.”