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John Wall is in a better situation with the Rockets than he was in D.C.

Rockets, John Wall

John Wall was the face of the Washington Wizards for nearly a decade. But he should be glad to be away from the nation’s capital and now with the Rockets.

Wall was traded from Washington to Houston this past fall. On the surface, the move hardly suggests upward mobility. The Rockets got off to a slow start in part due to the James Harden trade saga, and appear hard-pressed to compete in a loaded Western Conference under a first-year head coach.

Yet, there is no question John Wall is in a much better place in H-Town.

Where exactly are the Wizards headed?

To assess the full picture of Wall’s new situation, we should also break down what’s happening in D.C. In short: the Wizards are a mess.

Washington fell to 3-9 after losing to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The losing has come in spite of another inspired start from Bradley Beal, who is averaging 34.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists through his first 11 games.

Advanced statistics say Beal has been one of the worst defenders in basketball in the past couple of years. But he continues to ascend to the top tier of shot creators and playmakers in basketball and is one of the top combo guards in the league. However, the Wizards lack assets around Beal.

Rui Hachimura’s sophomore campaign is off to a decent start. First-round pick Deni Avdija has shown signs of the skills that made him a top-10 pick this past fall. But this team is far from a playoff contender.

Forward Davis Bertans is off to an exceptionally slow start after Washington re-signed him in free agency, and he is a liability on the defensive end. Thomas Bryant looked tremendous early in the year, but he suffered a torn ACL that will cost him the remainder of the season, and faces a long road to recovery.

Where are the depth pieces? What about the “3-and-D” wings and role players typically crucial for a championship team? They are absent from the Wizards roster, which is a problem.

Washington is hamstrung by Russell Westbrook’s contract. Of course, the Wizards still would have been in a tough spot had they kept Wall. The mammoth size of both deals is what led to the contract swap in the first place.

Regardless, the Wizards owe nearly $100 million to Westbrook, Beal and Bertans next season and over $100 million the following season, should Westbrook and Beal both exercise their player options.

Of course, Beal is not guaranteed to exercise that 2022-23 option, which would be for just north of $37 million. He will be headed into his age-30 season that season, and could well get a multiyear deal at an annual average value over $40 million.

Washington is stuck, and might not have any choice but to move Beal in the near future. Shouldn’t John Wall be glad he avoided that kind of mess?

Is Houston’s direction really much better?

Granted, the Rockets have question marks of their own.

Houston acquired Victor Oladipo as part of the James Harden blockbuster, but Oladipo will be a free agent at the end of the year. P.J. Tucker’s future is also unknown.

Still, the foundation is there. Oladipo has struggled in his last couple of appearances with the Rockets. But Wall’s playmaking and burst could take some of the pressure off the former Indiana Pacers star. Head coach Stephen Silas seems to think the two guards will work well together.

But the most important piece in all this is Christian Wood.

The former 15th man on the Detroit Pistons looks like a star. Wood is averaging 23.5 points and 10.8 rebounds through his first 12 games with the Rockets. He dives to the rim in pick-and-roll and gets out in transition.

Wood is also shooting 36.2 percent from deep on 4.8 attempts per game, showing legitimate potential as a stretch-big also capable of handling the ball and using his athleticism to make plays at and around the rim.

Houston can create something sustainable around Wood. He and Wall should be lethal in pick-and-roll, given Wall’s explosiveness and finishing ability at the cup. Surround those two with floor-spacers and “3-and-D” types, and you could have a winner.

Remember, the Rockets are still fresh off massive organizational trade. Rafael Stone replaced Daryl Morey as GM, and Silas is in his first year as head coach. Not to mention, the longtime face of the franchise (Harden) is gone.

Still, the Rockets have the building blocks to be successful, and Wall is part of that process.

The post John Wall is in a better situation with the Rockets than he was in D.C. appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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