Skip to main content

John Wall as Mentor: What Green & Porter Will Miss in Rockets Move

Outside of the off-court drama, former Houston Rockets point guard John Wall served as a mentor to several young players.

HOUSTON — Inside the Toyota Center on an October afternoon, Jalen Green and John Wall played an intense game of one-on-one following practice on the primary court. Houston Rockets assistant coach John Lucas observed the battle close by, as he gave each player five seconds to score. 

Wall held the ball in his hands on the left wing and blew passed Green to complete a right-hand layup. Green grazed Wall's arm on the attempt, which resulted in the veteran point guard shouting "And-1!” at the top of his lungs.

The one-on-one battle Green shared with the former five-time All-Star was one of many occasions Wall took the helm as a mentor.

The public might see Wall in his final season in Houston as a petulant veteran who refused to come off the bench but still received his $44.3 million salary for 2022. But behind closed doors, Wall was a helper to the next generation of guards.

"That's like my big bro," Green said following his one-on-one bout with Wall. "He gives me a bunch of advice. We are always talking on the court. When we are at the crib, we watch film together and he breaks stuff down. It's good to have a big bro off the court because it helps out a lot."

Wall was around the Rockets frequently before a personal matter resulted in him being away from the team starting in late December. But while present during the early part of the season, he was a basketball adviser to Green and Kevin Porter Jr.

Before finishing the 2021-22 campaign averaging over 20.0 points separately, the Rockets young backcourt had its fair share of struggles.  

Scroll to Continue

Read More

One of the turning points for Green and Porter came after the first quarter of the season, following the combined 30 games the duo missed due to injury. 

Both players credited the game slowing down upon their respective returns due to the additional film study and watching games from afar. The in-game lectures Green and Porter experienced took place with Wall — who sat between Houston's two young guards coaching.

Each player began to show signs of improvements before Christmas. Green started to get accustomed to the speed and physicality of the NBA, while Porter began to find his niche as Houston's starting point guard.

But Wall's mentorship did not cease with the Rockets. His tutorship reached the collegiate level and played a role in TyTy Washington establishing himself as a top-10 point guard in the nation during his lone season at Kentucky. 

The two stayed in communication throughout the 2022 NCAA season. Wall's words of advice helped Washington receive SEC All-Freshman Team and Second-Team All-SEC honors while establishing himself as one of the nation's best point guards.

"He told me that coach [John] Calipari is going to be on me from Day 1," Washington said during his pre-draft workout with the Washington Wizards. "He told me that I was going into the season with a lot of high expectations from Cal — someone who does not lower the bar for anyone. Wall told me if I could get through Cal, I could get through anywhere in life."

Wall's mentorship is just one of several attributes he will be able to provide the Los Angeles Clippers next season. As first reported by Yahoo Sports, Wall and the Rockets agreed to a buyout Monday evening, and he intends to sign with the Clippers after he clears waivers.

The Clippers have a handful of youthful guards who could benefit from spending a season with Wall. His knowledge and mentorship can help Los Angeles' young corps reach their potential — similar to the way he assisted Green and Porter this past season.