Outside of the James Harden saga, John Wall is enjoying his time in Houston

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Mike DePrisco
·2 min read
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Outside of the Harden saga, Wall is enjoying his time in Houston originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

John Wall's Rockets career didn't get off to the best start and it didn't have much of anything to do with him. 

Because James Harden decided he wanted out of Houston with two years left on his contract and showed up late to training camp, there was little to no attention on basketball. 

So other than those tumultuous first few weeks, Wall has really enjoyed his time with his new team. 

"Outside of James [Harden] not showing up to training camp and not wanting to be here, everything else was amazing," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. "The most important thing is we couldn't control what he wanted to do and at the same time as an organization, you've gotta understand they wanna handle it the way they wanna handle it."

If it were up to Harden, he probably would've preferred to get traded the moment he made his initial request. But with two years and a player option left on his contract, the Rockets were in a position to wait out the market for the best possible return. 

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While that benefitted their franchise long term by securing four first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps from the Nets (one first-rounder from Milwaukee), prolonging the struggle between the team and Harden made it difficult for the rest of the team to figure out how to play together. 

"I think that was the most difficult thing because we were all trying to find ways to get the team to come together as one," Wall said. "My mindset is I just came back after not playing for two years, I'm trying to get this going the right way. There were a little wrinkle spots we had to throw a little WD-40 in there to get it out the right way."

The Rockets are 6-9 and boast the 19th-best net rating in the NBA. There's plenty of room for improvement there, though it's important to note they've yet to play a game with their full roster post-Harden trade.

Talent isn't an issue with Wall, Victor Oladipo, Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker. It's just a matter of them coming together and developing a new identity. 

"I think we can be something special," Wall said. "This point in time is where leadership becomes a big factor," he said. "If you don't have a great leader, your team can kind of sink and I believe in my abilities on the court as a leader and off the court to get this team together."

Watch Chris Miller's full interview with John Wall on Wizards Pregame Live Tuesday night. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.