John Wall says today’s NBA is hard to watch: ‘Nobody’s playin’ defense’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Five-time All-Star John Wall believes that the NBA today is hard to watch, calling out a lack of defense in the league right now.

“The NBA…the game just changed so much it’s hard to watch,” Wall said. “It’s hard to watch because nobody’s playin’ defense. It’s a lot of shots, and it just – for me, it’s like goin’ and playin’ pickup.”

Wall equated the current game to players going back and forth with each other in a one-on-one style of play.

The NBA has certainly changed since Wall entered the league back in the 2010-11 season. During that season, the Denver Nuggets had the best offensive rating in the NBA at 111.7, according to

Based on the offensive ratings for teams this season, Denver’s league-best mark in the 2010-11 season would be worse than that of the No. 24 Houston Rockets in the 2023-24 campaign, as they have an offensive rating of 112.7.

The change in offense has also come with a change in defense. The team with the best defensive rating in the NBA this season is the Minnesota Timberwolves at 108.2. In the 2010-11 season, the No. 19 defense belonged to the Los Angeles Clippers, and the team had a 108.0 defensive rating.

Wall, who last played in the NBA in the 2022-23 season with the Clippers, clearly isn’t a huge fan of the increase in offense and subsequent decrease in defense in the league.

It is worth noting that the 3-point shot has become much more prevalent since Wall’s rookie season, which has also forced more and more players to be skilled at shooting the ball. That has contributed to more spacing on the floor in a regular NBA team’s offense.

Pace has also changed in the NBA, as the No. 1 team in pace in the 2010-11 season was Minnesota at 97.49. This season, the Washington Wizards lead the NBA in pace at 103.35. The mark from the 2010-11 Timberwolves would rank 27th in the league this season.

As the game changes in this fashion, it’s likely that offense will increase as teams are also seeing an increase in their number of possessions per game with more uptempo paces.

It would have been interesting to see Wall – when he was in his prime – play in an era like this. The former Wizards star had his career derailed due to injury troubles that cost him the entire 2019-20 season.

An All-NBA selection, All-Defensive selection and All-Rookie selection in his career, Wall was elite at getting to the basket with speed and explosiveness for many years.

It’s unclear if Wall will get a chance to play in the NBA again.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.