FAIRFAX, Va. | Wizards rookie John Wall is learning to walk the fine line between establishing himself as vocal leader and knowing his place in the veteran pecking order.
He is also trying to establish chemistry with backcourt mate Gilbert Arenas.
“When we run against each other in drills, we try to make each other better, but we are on the same team.” Wall said. “We’re trying to do the best thing possible to help us win.”
“John is a slasher, Gil is a shooter,” Booker said. “I think they’ll do pretty good.”
Even as he learns from Arenas, and the other veterans and coaches, the youngest player on the roster is quickly establishing his voice as the one to hear.
“They’re going to have trust me cause I am going to have the ball in my hands a lot,” Wall said. “If the game is close, I want them to be able to know that they can trust I can get the ball to the right people and make certain plays for them. So you have to be a leader from day one.”
Wall added that he is not trying to make a statement with his leadership style, but that in some cases, words can speak louder than actions.
“I’m still going to listen to the veterans as much as I can,” he said. “Listen to the coach. I’m still learning. At the same time, trying to lead by example, not just by doing drills, but by speaking up and getting everybody in the right places for the plays.”
Coach Flip Saunders is impressed with Wall’s take charge approach. He said the rookie’s maturity is “really beyond his years.”
“I haven’t had anyone as young as he is, as vocal as he is,” Saunders said. “His understanding, he’s similar to (Kevin) Garnett in that he knows where everyone is supposed to be on every play. When you have a point guard that can tell everyone where to be and where to go, that brings a whole different balance to your team.”
Wall also doesn’t have a problem with carrying out rookie duties.