The “Everybody Eats” Washington Wizards: Run it Back?

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

After an impressive victory in Oklahoma City, the Washington Wizards once again are rallying around their “Everybody Eats” mantra without all-star point guard John Wall. Winning is fun, but what’s the ceiling on this season’s version of “Everybody Eats?”

The Washington Wizards are not better without all-star point guard John Wall. The District’s ceiling has been lowered indefinitely since their franchise star opted for surgery to remove bone spurs that have been digging into his left Achilles’ tendon. Wall hopes to be fully recovered and ready for the 2019-2020 season, but that future readiness doesn’t help the current squad in its quest to dig out of a 16-24 hole and make the 2018-2019 playoffs.

Last season, the Wizards responded to Wall’s injury (knees, remember?) with a renewed sense of urgency and refound pleasure in playing team basketball. Wall’s fellow all-star backcourt partner, Bradley Beal, infamously stoked a fire when he implied the Wizards were better without Wall. “Everybody Eats” became Washington’s Wall-less rallying cry.

“Everybody Eats” motivated the Wizards to five straight victories and wins in 10 of their first 13 games without Wall. The basketball was moving, supporting cast members were scoring, and “Everybody Eats” yielded an “Everybody Has Fun Winning” culture–until the Wizards stopped winning without their franchise all-timer.

The Wizards proceeded to lose nine of their next 14 games and finish with a 15-12 record overall sans Wall. The eighth-seeded Wizards would lose to the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs to end a disappointing season, but Wall’s spirited effort in the series (26.0 points, 11.5 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game) sponsored hope for a fresh start with a fresh Wall in 2018-2019. The Wizards sought to reclaim their presence in the top half of the now Lebron-less Eastern Conference.

However, last season’s hopeful optimism (healthy Wall, new bench…) quickly soured with this season’s dispiriting origins. The storylines have been well documented and maddening for a fanbase eager for the Wall era to reach its ceiling–a ceiling that hasn’t quite yet been defined, but will definitely not be reached yet again this season. There’s no need to retell the story of locker-room disgruntlement, front-office incompetence, and on-court malaise. You’ve heard it before.

Time doesn’t stop, though, so what can D.C. do to salvage the season before it or its future becomes fully lost? And, no, tanking is not a proven way to pass time.

“Everybody Eats” Take 2?

Beal’s “Everybody Eats” mantra has taken new meaning in its second season without Wall. Instead of just 27 regular season games (Wall returned last season for the playoffs, logging 39.1 minutes per game in the series) Washington finds itself without the former all-NBA selection until next season. Wall will not return to help apply pressure to, or find, that undefined Wizards’ ceiling. “Everybody Eats [For Some Games]” has become “Everybody Must Eat.”

While supporting cast members have stepped up and provided the spirited play required to compete for a spot in the playoffs, there certainly is a defined ceiling for a Wall-less Wizards team. This iteration of “Everybody Eats” is simply looking for a spot in the playoffs and a competitive, spirited first round exit.

If second-year center Thomas Bryant continues to play with youthful energy and pride and produce efficient double-doubles (21.1 PER, nearly 15 PPG and 10 RPG since Wall’s season ended), then the Wall-less Wizards can reach their ceiling.

If starting point guard Tomas Satoransky continues to orchestrate the floor like a veteran (12.8 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 6.0 RPG since Wall suspended his season), then the Wall-less Wizards can reach their ceiling.

If newcomer Jeff Green finishes with one of his best seasons since he was a young 20-something top five pick in Oklahoma City (his current 118 offensive rating is the best of his long career), then the Wall-less Wizards can reach their ceiling.

If max-contact Otto Porter commits to putting up shots at a rate never before seen (Porter attempted 17 shots in just 24 minutes against OKC), then the Wall-less Wizards can reach their ceiling.

The player set to gain the most at this point in his career without Wall is Beal. Likely to earn a second straight all-star appearance, Beal has amped up the aggression in his already sharp offensive game. The shooting guard has already attempted 106 driving layups, putting him on pace for 223 this season and 40 more than last season, per It’s now easy to mistake Beal flying to the rim for Wall. Even more, Beal is filling up the entire stat sheet, not just the points column (averaging nearly six assists and rebounds per game without Wall).

If Beal takes the next step into stardom, then the Wall-less Wizards can reach their ceiling.

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So, the ceiling is set for the Wall-less Wizards: fight to earn a spot at the back end of the Eastern Conference playoff hierarchy while role players and max-contract stars continue to develop and gain experience without the Wizards’ figurehead.

The Wizards then hope for a fresh start with a fresh Wall in 2019-2020. D.C. will again try to reclaim its presence in the top half of a Lebron-less Eastern Conference and find it’s true ceiling with a healthy Wall.

Have your heard this before?