There’s drama outside of the White House in D.C., too. Wizards point guard John Wall is out until at least mid-March after going through a midseason knee surgery and he’s also got a bit of beef with the team’s starting center.
Wall and Marcin Gortat had to have a mutual sit-down to air out their grievances with one another, according to a report from ESPN’s Chris Haynes. It all started after Wall went down with a knee injury and the Wizards beat the Raptors.
Gortat and Wall have been teammates for four years and have flourished alongside one another on the court. But off the court, they haven’t always seen eye to eye and it all came to a head in recent weeks. Here’s how.
Gortat started things off with a “tweet”
The Wizards were dominant without Wall in two straight wins against the Raptors and the Thunder. They moved the ball well throughout both games and had a well-balanced attack. That prompted Gortat to tweet this.
Unbelievable win tonight ! Great "team" victory!— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 2, 2018
Normally, that’s a fine tweet. But some, including Wall, took issue with Gortat’s tweet just two games after Wall went down. Specifically, because the word team was in quotation marks.
Wall responded to that tweet with an “Lol.”
Wall doubled down by embarrassing his teammate on national TV
Wall was making the rounds in the media before the all-star break, doing scheduled appearances on behalf of one of his endorsers. Of course the beef between he and Gortat would be brought up.
Instead of squashing things there, Wall doubled down and went at Gortat for his tweet, saying he gives the Wizards center “spoon-fed baskets.”
John Wall on ESPN just said “funny hearing Gortat talking when he gets the most spoon-fed easiest baskets cause of him” pic.twitter.com/U3zOdCCu2x— Sigh (@Groovy_Ky) February 6, 2018
“It’s more just shocking to hear that from [Gortat], understanding that he gets the most assists from me — the most spoon-fed baskets ever,” Wall said.
Ouch. That’s got to hurt.
But he isn’t necessarily wrong — Wall has assisted on 68 of Gortat’s 210 baskets this season despite being hurt. Still, that’s not something which should be said about a teammate. Especially not when the cameras are on.
This supports the narrative Wall’s teammates might not like him
The Wizards have seemed just fine without him, winning six of their last eight games since he went down. Normally, it’d be considered a good thing for a team to win without its best player.
But after J.J. Barea said Wall’s teammates don’t like him and Wall himself told reporters a team meeting didn’t go well, it lead some to question how good the Wizards were with Wall. Plus, once he went down, the team started moving the ball more, averaging 314 passes per game and 30.4 assists per game without him. With him, they averaged 281.9.
It doesn’t necessarily mean the Wizards are better without Wall. When a shot creator goes down, the ball moves better — that’s happened throughout NBA history. And Wall’s teammates liked him just fine earlier this season when he bought them all Rolex watches.
But this still isn’t a great look for him, the Wizards, or Gortat. That’s why a sit-down between the two was necessary and, hopefully, productive. If not, the Wizards could be in for a long second half of the season.