The Eastern Conference becomes vulnerable after LeBron James headed to the Western Conference to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The departure of James takes away the Cleveland Cavaliers’ status as a legitimate title contender, and as of now, three NBA teams emerge as the top favorites to rule the Eastern Conference next season. These include the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
However, John Wall said that people shouldn’t count the Washington Wizards out in the battle for the Eastern Conference supremacy. In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Wall believes that the Wizards are not far from other East elite teams like the Celtics, Raptors, and the Sixers since none of them have gone to the NBA Finals.
“I feel like we’re all equal,” Wall said. “None of them won a championship. This is no knock on no other team. Don’t get me wrong. Boston is a hell of a team. Philly has great young talent with those guys [Joel] Embiid, [Ben] Simmons. And Toronto, losing DeMar [DeRozan], they still get Kawhi [Leonard]. Y’all might have been to the Eastern Conference finals, where we haven’t been to, but none of y’all were going to the Finals. It was one guy going to the Finals. Ain’t nobody separated from nothing.”
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) August 9, 2018
John Wall said that if there is one guy who separated himself from the rest of the Eastern Conference in the last eight years, it is LeBron James. The 33-year-old small forward had represented the East in the NBA Finals for eight consecutive years where he won two NBA championship titles with the Miami Heat and one with the Cavaliers.
Wall believes that the Wizards have the same chance as the Celtics, Raptors, and the Sixers to become the new ruler of the LeBron-less East next season. They have made a huge roster improvement this offseason with the acquisition of Dwight Howard, Jeff Green, and Austin Rivers. Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are expected to return 100 percent healthy for the Celtics. But Wall thinks that in order for Boston to become successful, both superstars should first build a good chemistry with Celtics’ young players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who led the team to the East finals and forced a Game 7 against James and the Cavaliers.
The Raptors may have replaced DeMar DeRozan with Kawhi Leonard, but it doesn’t mean that the former Spurs superstar can bring the same success in Toronto like he did in San Antonio. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have shown their capability to carry the Sixers back to title contention, but Wall said that Philadelphia shouldn’t expect an easier competition next season.
John Wall believes being considered as the underdogs will give the Wizards an extra motivation to perform better. Wall vowed to do everything he can to prove their doubters wrong in the 2018-19 NBA season.