WASHINGTON — John Wall isn't shooting well, he's turning the ball over at an alarming rate, and his attitude isn't quite the same. The Washington Wizards franchise player spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench during the team's latest loss, a game marred by complaints about playing time while it was in progress.
"He's just in a funk right now," said teammate Chris Singleton, who has been known to complain about playing time.
The player whose return had been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal Wizards season has hit a skid. In the five games since the All-Star break, Wall is shooting 29.6 percent and has had three games with six or more turnovers.
Yet he seemed to absolve himself of any blame for his seven-turnover, four-assist performance in Wednesday night's 96-95 loss to Detroit.
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"I think it was great passes," Wall said. "I just think some of my teammates (didn't) catch them, and some of them got tipped away."
The Wizards kept Wall, who was a star at the University of Kentucky, away from reporters Thursday.
"I think he's trying too hard sometimes," coach Randy Wittman said. "I think John loses sight of it — as well as people on the outside — the effect that he still has on the game and our players with what he brings to the game, his speed, his ability to find people."
Wittman agreed that Wall's demeanor hasn't been exactly positive lately.
"That's human nature," the coach said. "We all want to play our best. . . . That's why I want him to understand he could go 3 for 12 and still have an impact and we win the game."
Wall's slide is all the more surprising because of the lift he had given the team since returning from a knee injury. The Wizards were 5-28 before Wall came back on Jan. 12. They've since gone 13-10.
But Wittman went with backup A.J. Price at point guard as the Wizards were rallying in the fourth quarter against the Pistons before finally reinserting Wall with 3:38 to play. Then, without naming names, the coach said afterward that players were complaining about minutes while on the bench.
Wittman was still irked by it Thursday, and he addressed it with his players.
"I revisited it with the whole team, not just John," Wittman said. "It's the whole team. Because at some point it might be John going through it today or yesterday or the day before, and somebody (else) is going to be faced with that tomorrow or the next day.
"'Til the earth stops spinning, there's going to be guys concerned about minutes," the coach said. "That's the nature of our business, but there's a time and a place to be concerned and have that question about minutes, and it's not during the game. If there's a question, come into my office the next day at practice, we can sit and talk about these things."