Apr 10, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (0) talks with guard John Wall (left) during the second quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
John Wall rips Rockets in podcast interview
John Wall was quite succinct in describing his experience as a member of the Rockets.
“Trash,” Wall said. “Beyond trash.”
Wall ripped his old team during an appearance on the Run Your Race Podcast, hosted by Dallas Mavericks guard Theo Pinson. Wall returned from a torn Achilles and averaged 20.6 points and seven assists over 40 games during the 2020-21 campaign.
“I went there and worked my ass off,” Wall said. “We lost 20 in a row; we were trying to lose on purpose, tanking.”
After that season, which saw the Rockets finish with an NBA worst 17-55 record, Wall says the Rockets told him they wanted him back for a second season as the team’s starting point guard and were thrilled with the leadership he provided on and off the floor, but he says that changed during an August meeting with Stephen Silas.
“How would you feel coming off the bench?” Silas asked Wall.
“For who?” Wall replied. “No offense, for who? I was your best player last year.”
“This is what (general manager Rafael Stone) wants,” Silas replied. “We want you to play 10-15 minutes per game and sometimes not play.”
Wall refused to agree to that arrangement, but he did undertake a mentorship role, which involved him simply attending practices and games until a trade partner could be found. When it became apparent, there was no trade to be made, Wall and the Rockets discussed a return to the floor, but he left the team for good before Christmas after a role couldn’t be agreed on.
Much of what Wall told Pinson and co-host AJ Richardson was true, though not everything was. He was never in the same starting lineup as Spencer Patton, Jae’Sean Tate, and David Nwaba, and the team would contend he was never told to stay away. Instead, Wall’s early morning workouts that he complained about were part of a ramp-up for a possible return, and Wall remained present at team practices.
This part of Wall’s podcast appearance makes for great gossip and social media content, but only one thing he said about the Rockets really matters moving forward.
“It’s just a bad organization right now. They gotta fix some (expletive) around. I always talk to Jalen Green, Kevin Porter, K.J. (Martin), don’t get adjusted to this losing (expletive). This is not how the league is, but at the same time, the (expletive) y’all are getting away with over here; if you go to any other team, you’d be out of the (expletive) league, you wouldn’t play.
“I tried to explain that to them, but they think it’s sweet, but I’m like, if you ever get traded or go somewhere else, you’re gonna be like this (expletive) was right.”
A lack of accountability has plagued the Rockets all season. Some of the reasons the Rockets sit with the NBA’s worst record for a third straight year are uncontrollable. The players can’t control the fact they are young and less experienced than their opponent every single night, but they can control their effort, and far too often, the Rockets are simply outworked by whoever they’re facing, and it happens without any repercussions, allowing for bad habits to form, which hinders a young player’s development more than anything and can be attributed to why Green has shown little improvement during his second NBA season.
Wall’s podcast rant is the third time the Rockets organization has been taken to task this month.
Austin Rivers told the Chronicle after a game on Jan. 8 that Porter and Green need someone to teach them how to play, and last week, David Thorpe revealed on the True Hoop Podcast that a prominent agent referred to the organization as a “clown show.”