Rockets’ John Wall: “I Feel Like I’m The Franchise Guy”

John Wall at the NBA All-Star Game in 2017. Photo by Stephen Lew/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

The departure of superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook has forced the Houston Rockets to rely on former All-Star guard John Wall to be their best player. And he’s delivered so far.

Despite being out of action for almost two years, Wall has been playing well in his first season with the Rockets. He’s averaging 18.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in 2020-21 while leading the team to seven wins in the last eight games.

This has helped boost Wall’s confidence, who labeled himself as “the franchise guy” for the Rockets after a 115-103 win over Memphis Grizzlies.

“I feel like I’m the franchise guy, now that James [Harden] has left,” said Wall. “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.”

John Wall joined the Rockets in a trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards over the summer. At the time, it seemed like a bad trade for Houston, as Wall has been struggling with injuries in recent years.

After missing 41 games in 2017-18 due to a knee injury, the 30-year-old star suffered a season-ending heel injury early in 2018-19. During the recovery, he went on to rupture his Achilles and ended up being sidelined for the entire 2019-20 campaign as well.

Still, Wall is looking healthy now, and his performances are giving the Rockets a reason to be optimistic. And it’s safe to say that the franchise needs some optimism after seeing their two best players leave in less than two months.