Russell Westbrook has completed his blockbuster trade to the Washington Wizards with John Wall going the other way to the Houston Rockets. Wall will go down as a Wizards legend, he spent just under 10 years with the franchise, but as much as his leadership will be missed it opens up a new era for the franchise. That new franchise will need a new leader, and Wall fully backs Bradley Beal to be that figure,
“I talked to him and wished him the best. Keep doing what you’re doing. Lead that franchise now because now you’re that franchise guy. This is what the organisation wanted.”
The biggest problem with this is that Beal becomes a free agent next year, it’s hard to build a franchise around a player who could walk away for nothing next year, there is a high possibility that Beal could sign an extension before the 2021 free agency but the uncertainty still remains, however even if Beal signs he extension, Westbrook will look to become the leader of that team. This feels evident even from the news today that Westbrook impressed in training this morning, he reportedly turned up 2 hours before practice and increased the intensity of the whole session.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks previously coached Westbrook in Oklahoma City, Brooks seems to lean towards the former MVP to be a big team leader, “I’m sure the players didn’t realise that’s what he does. You could tell everybody locked in and everybody raised their level up. They will know this was not because it was the first day. This is who he is, this is how he prepares, this is how he gets ready. He’s always like that.”
The Wizards clearly have two big leaders to take this team forward and that’s going to be needed with a large number of young talented players in the squad, recently drafted Deni Avdija will need mentorship as he looks to push his way into the starting five, Rui Hachimura had a good rookie season but will also need the mentorship, then looking at the rest of the squad both big man Robin Lopez and sharp shooter Davis Bertans will benefit from the on court leadership.
While the squad may need a year or two to settle and come into it’s own, the wizards are going to look to hit the ground running and start bringing some magic back onto the court and hopefully the playoffs.
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