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John Wall’s goal for Wizards next season: ‘The Finals’

Jul 31, 2014, 3:50 PM EST

Miami Heat v Washington Wizards Getty Images

The Wizards built a playoff team before last season and then declared the playoffs their primary goal.

It was so short-sighted, maybe even detrimental to the franchise’s long-term future. That roster should have viewed the postseason as the bare minimum.

But it’s also understandable how a team in a five-season playoff drought would become fixated on ending it above all else.

Nobody bought into Washington’s postseason-or-bust mantra more than John Wall, who wrote “playoffs” on his shoes before each game. The All-Star point guard certainly did his part to lead the Wizards into the postseason with a controlled game that, more than ever, eliminated mistakes.

Now, though, Wall is ready to strive for more.

Wall, via Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

“The Finals. All you can ask for now is the Finals,” Wall said from Team USA training camp in Las Vegas when asked for his goals for the upcoming season. “We’ve been to the second round. We know what it takes to win. We know what we need to do. We know everybody needs to get better individually, and I think [the front office] just did a great job of adding pieces, great veteran guys that know what it takes to win.”

With LeBron James heading to Cleveland, the East is much more open the last four seasons, when the Heat won each year.

In the new order, LeBron’s Cavs should rank highest. Adding Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and a healthy Derrick Rose should help the Bulls. Beyond those two top contenders, the Pacers, Raptors, Heat, Bobcats and Nets have fighting chances.

And so do the Wizards.

They were the youngest Eastern Conference team, weighted by playoff minutes, to win a postseason series. And for the most part, they kept the squad together, swapping Paul Pierce for Trevor Ariza. Wall and Bradley Beal are also still young and growing as team leaders.

The Wizards certainly shouldn’t be considered Finals favorites or anything near that, but it’s possible – and encouraging to see Wall aspire to such a high goal.

And hey, last year, merely meeting their goal of making the playoffs didn’t cause the Wizards to rest on their laurels. They upset the Bulls in the first round and challenged the Pacers in the next. If the Wizards somehow make the Finals, there’s no reason they can’t keep going and win the whole darn thing.

  1. 4thquartermagic - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Maybe with 2009 Paul Pierce… but with 2014 Pierce?

    Don’t think so.

  2. ncarolinarn7 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Oh please. Keep dreaming.

  3. bball242322 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    1.Bulls
    2.Cavs
    3.Pacers
    4.Wizards
    5.Raptors
    6.Bobcats
    7.Hawks
    8.Heat/Nets/Knicks will battle for the last spot in the East

    • kingbeason52 - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Hornets*

    • irvfin3 - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Why the hell are the Nets so low? I see them being 4-6

  4. cmart0907 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    At least he have the right mindset. Keep pushing John Wall.

  5. borisalessandri - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    They could make it back to the semi-Finals but not the Finals-FINALS

    • unxpexted1 - Aug 1, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      I think th conference finals is realistic

  6. cbking05 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Kinda steals the thunder from my goal of wanting to go to Six Flags this season

  7. cluelessdufus - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Wall took a huge step in his game, as Beal did as well. I’d would say this could be a realistic goal with the way the east is looking like. I honestly think there the 2nd best team behind the Bulls.

  8. watermelon1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    If not for some egregious officiating, the Wizards don’t lose to the Pacers and who knows what they would have done against a Heat team full of QUITNESS?

    All I know is Wizards have to be ranked ahead of Pacers at this point. Pacers only got weaker, Wizards only got stronger.

    • bball242322 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Meh, maybe

      Pacers were up and coming 3 years ago when Lance hardly even touched the floor. Paul George wasn’t near the player that he is now, and they still made it to a 2nd round loss to the Heat with an injured Granger, a nobody Lance, and very young Paul George. Now since they lost 1 player, all the sudden they’re way down in people’s rankings.

      Pacers are now playoff tested, experienced, gone through extreme scrutiny and adversity, dumped their chemistry problem, and now they can go back to playing good TEAM Indiana ball, and not have Lance dribble the ball stagnant for 18 seconds and then bolt to the hoop like a loose cannon and then turn the ball over

      • imakcds - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        the Pacers Imploded, did you happen to not notice that??

      • bball242322 - Aug 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        yeah hence me saying they’ve been through extreme scrutiny and adversity….? You miss that part

  9. benjamincharlesparho - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Classic Simmons’ irrational confidence guy, I love it.

  10. lazegowizfan95 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Wall will lead his team to the Finals this year mark his words after he lead his team to the playoffs and did damage there like he said they would I’ll take my boy’s word from then on.

  11. eugenesaxe1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    I challenge your calling CLE the best of the Leastern conference. And I challenge Wall calling the Finals, though I’d love to see it.

  12. samsonight1010 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Silly kid

  13. bhunter1995 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    What this depends on is the growth of Beal as a player. If Beal plays like a legitimate star then yes they could actually go to the finals (I’m not dissing him but 17/3/3 isn’t star quality numbers). If Beal can get his averages up to 21-22/4/4 I can easily see them in the ECF.

    Another thing that a Wizards finals run depends on is Paul Pierce. How much does the truth have left in the tank. If he can be a closer in big games for them then I think they will be a very dangerous team but I have my doubts on what he can do now at his age.

  14. 2016olympics - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    I don’t get it. Wiz made it to the Conference Semi-Finals last year…so wouldn’t the Conference Finals be the next logical step?

  15. twinfan24 - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Ha!

  16. campcouch - Jul 31, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    So they went 44-38,a year after 29-53…and before that 20-46…I’m all for improvement,but being +6 in the regular season, beating the offensively challenged Bulls, then losing the semis doesn’t make me go Eastern Conference champs when thinking of the Wiz.

  17. antistratfordian - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    “We’ve been to the second round. We know what it takes to win.”

    Pfffft. That’s funny.

  18. 25yearindyfan - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Egregious officiating? Wall and Beal crapped the bed in game 6 on their home floor. The Pacers toyed with them. Without Ariza dropping threes left and right that wouldn’t have been a series.

  19. elcaminobilly - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    The Wizards are going to be the #2 seed in the East this year. Only the Cavs will do better. I don’t see the Wizards making the NBA finals, this year anyway…unless LeBron goes down with injury.
    Paul Pierce is still a very good player. Not the great player he once was. but he can still get the job done. They did very good getting him. An improvement over Ariza.

  20. unxpexted1 - Aug 1, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    Wizards arguably have the best starting line, player for player outside of the Bulls. And I think their bench will be improved if Otto and Glenn Rice develop. They may have chance but I can see ECF for them.

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