‘I’m the Franchise Guy’: John Wall Feels He’s No.1 Guy at Houston Rockets After Harden’s Exit

Published 02/05/2021, 1:00 PM EST
Jan 26, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard John Wall (1) reacts after making a three point basket against the Washington Wizards during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports


The sky covering the city of Houston is bright and shiny, now that the gloomy clouds of the James Harden trade saga have cleared away. After looking like a team that was going to finish at the basement of the Western Conference Table this season, the Houston Rockets are clawing their way back to be on the cusp of a Playoff finish.

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The display of Christian Wood has been inspiring to watch while the new addition Victor Oladipo is settling in smoothly. However, their 8-4 run since Harden’s exit would not have been possible without the leadership of John Wall.

Jan 16, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) works out during the pre-game warmups prior to the game against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

They are 6-0 when he is in the lineup and Harden‘s not, this season. So, now he feels that he deserves the accreditation of being the top dog in the roster.

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“I feel like now I’m the franchise guy now since 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.”

John Wall feels he doesn’t need to be a proficient scorer like Harden to lead Houston Rockets

It is clear to even an average NBA viewer that Harden is one of the best offensive players of all-time. He averaged more than 30 points a game in the past three seasons, leading the league in scoring. So, no one can virtually replace his points tally.

But Wall brings a diverse skill-set to the table – he can score, assist, rebound, and defend ferociously, all at the same time. He feels his role as the leader will go beyond putting the ball in the bucket for the Rockets.

“I don’t have to be the leading scorer for our team. I don’t have to take the most shots. My job is to make sure everybody is comfortable, everybody is playing at a high level, everybody has respect for one another,” said Wall.

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“And that we trust our coaching staff with whatever game plan they give us, and they trust me out there as being basically the coach on the floor when I have the ball in my hands.”

Jan 23, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard John Wall (1) brings the ball up court against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, they are 7-0, including the win against Memphis Grizzlies when he’s taken to the court after Harden’s exit. No further validation needed of his importance to the franchise.

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Bharat Aggarwal

684 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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