When John Wall was first traded to the Houston Rockets last offseason, the expectation was that he and James Harden were going to share the backcourt for the Rockets. It was reported that Harden signed off on the Wall move and wanted to play alongside him, but that was later proven to be incorrect, as Harden’s stance on wanting to be traded didn’t change.
Harden was eventually dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, leaving Wall and Christian Wood as the franchise players. Wall’s veteran presence has been beneficial in the locker room and off the court, and his play has willed the Rockets to victory on numerous occasions this season.
Wall has garnered praise from Rockets coach Stephen Silas and Rockets GM Rafael Stone, which is a testament to the impact he’s had in such a short time in Houston. Wall has made it his goal to assist in the development of Kevin Porter Jr., as he’s sought to help Porter become a professional off the court.
The dilemma the Houston Rockets will have with John Wall this summer
This can’t go understated, as Porter has been a model citizen in Houston and admitted that he’s had a great support system with the Rockets, which Wall is certainly a part of. But on the court, Wall’s presence is likely to stifle the long-term growth of Porter Jr., as Wall is a facilitating guard, much like the role that the Rockets want Porter to have.
But not just that, Wall has the tendency to try to take over games, while also taking a healthy amount of shots. To add color to that, Wall has averaged 18.1 shots per game (second-most in his career) and 6.3 attempts from long-range (most of his career) this season.
In the 7 games in which Wall and Porter have played together following the Victor Oladipo trade, Porter has been noticeably worse with Wall than in the 6 games in which he’s played without Wall. With Wall on the floor, Porter has averaged 14.7 points on 40.8 percent from the floor, 26.8 percent from three, and 49.7 percent true shooting, with an offensive rating of 91.1 points per 100 possessions.
In the 6 games without Wall, Porter has averaged 16.7 points on 43.8 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range, and 54.6 percent true shooting, with an offensive rating of 108 points per 100 possessions. Porter is certainly the future for the Rockets and with such a noticeable dip in production and efficiency with Wall on the floor, the Rockets will have to look into getting rid of Wall to allow Porter to reach his full potential.
But getting rid of Wall will be a tall order for Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone, as Wall is owed $91 million through 2023, with the final year being a player option of $47 million, which Wall will certainly not walk away from. The Rockets would almost certainly have to part with some of their draft capital, which they recently acquired, in order to move Wall, not to mention taking on a huge chunk of salary to replace Wall’s outgoing contract, which practically makes moving Wall not worth it.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Rockets do with Wall this offseason (if anything) because Porter has by far been a much better version of himself without Wall on the floor, but moving Wall could be too tall of an order to do.