Before the Houston Rockets even opened training camp it was clear that the team was in rebuild mode. Houston traded their starting point guard Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for former number one overall pick John Wall. It was also becoming increasingly clear that James Harden was unhappy in Houston. When Harden made the issues between him and the Rockets public in a post-game press conference, they had no choice but to trade him. Since Harden’s exit from Houston, it has been obvious that John Wall is one of the best players on the Rockets roster as he is the catalyst of Houston’s offense. He is averaging 18.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. Now that “The Beard” is no longer in Houston, Wall believes that he is the new sheriff in town.
John Wall Thinks He Is the Rockets New Franchise Player
“I feel like I’m the franchise guy now that James has left,” Wall told reporters over zoom, via Mark Berman of KRIV. “You very rarely get the opportunity to be a franchise (guy) in two different cities and two different teams. I feel like that’s my job, to be the leader of this team.”
.@JohnWall: “I feel like I’m the franchise guy now that James has left. You very rarely get the opportunity to be a franchise (guy) in two different cities and two different teams..I feel like that’s my job, to be the leader of this team.” #Rockets pic.twitter.com/KUBt8rNSwj
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) February 5, 2021
Harden’s exit from Houston was an ugly one. After “The Beard” told reporters that Houston was “just not good enough” to compete John Wall had a strong response to his lack of commitment to the team. “End of the day, a lot of guys here wanna compete at a high level,” Wall said to reporters over zoom via yahoo sports. “When the 1-15 guys all on the same page and they commit, they know their role, they know what they wanna do, they know what they wanna get out of this that’s to win, you all will be fine. But when you have certain guys in the mix that don’t wanna buy in all as one, it’s going to be hard to do anything good as a basketball team.”
Harden Made the Rockets Relevant Again
Regardless of how bad Harden’s exit was the reality is he is one of the greatest players in Rockets history. The team had missed the playoffs three straight seasons before Harden’s arrival in 2012. Three years later they were in the Western Conference Finals. Harden also won his lone Most Valuable Player award for the 2018 season while in Houston. Currently, the Rockets are in 10th place in the Western Conference with an 11-10 record while the Nets are 3rd in the East Conference at 14-10. Harden was never wrong about the Rockets not being good enough to compete he just had a poor way of delivering the message.
While Wall may be a great player in his own right being talented is not what makes you a franchise player. Changing the fortunes of a franchise does. Harden made the Rockets relevant again. So relevant that superstars like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook wanted to come to play there. Harden is still is the last franchise player that the Rockets have had. And he likely will be for a while. Truthfully, Harden still is a franchise player, and he now has the luxury of playing with two others.