Resume: 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 32.7 minutes, 44% FG, and 80% FT… Team record in games played: 24-25 (5-28 without)
This year’s award for Player Who I Forgot Was So Much Fun To Watch goes to none other than John Wall. Holy cannoli! Re-watching highlights of Wall reminded me of why Washington picked him 1st overall in 2010. He’s really, really athletic. Goodness gracious. And before I go on gushing about Wall, let me thank whoever runs the NBAClutchTime YouTube account. You my friend are a godsend for anybody looking for highlights of specific players. Anyway, Wall’s speed and athleticism are breathtaking to watch, even when it’s confined to the screen of your laptop. True story: I was sitting next to my girlfriend watching John Wall highlights while she was working on Genetics homework (John Wall highlights > Genetics homework) and I continued to bother her with a series of wow’s, ooh’s and other inaudible noises just because of how much fun I was having watching John Wall because like I said, I forgot how much fun he is.
This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise for me though. After all, I watch a lot of basketball and Wall didn’t exactly come out of nowhere to impress me. It was a stone cold lock that he was going to be the number one pick in the 2010 Draft and looking back at his nbadraft.net page you can see why. It serves more as a memorial of his skills than it does as a scouting report.
“One of the most electrifying players to come out of the college ranks in year”
“Has an heir of supremacy that only the truly great ones possess”
“His speed in the open floor and first step blow by ability is absolutely jaw dropping”
“His ability to contort his body and finish from all angles around the basket with both hands borders on the absurd”
“Has a chance to be a merchandising phenomenon with his incredible talent and charisma”
“Someday the NBA logo will be a silhouette of John Wall doing his own dance”
I made that last one up. But do you get the point? Wall was a big deal from the get-go and it still took me by surprise when I watched his 2012/13 highlight video how impressive he is. Why, you ask? Well the simple answer would be that I care very little about the Washington Wizards, but beyond that, Wall isn’t a flawless player. He can get reckless and careless with the ball and become turnover prone. His jump shot isn’t quite where you’d want it to be, and to make matters worse, Wall tends to settle for ill-advised jumpers when you’d want him to be attacking the basket. The good news is Wall is only 23 years old, could very easily turn fine tune his weaknesses overnight, and based on how well he played over the last month and a half of last season it might be a safe assumption that Wall is on the cusp of a leap.
When Wall returned in mid-January he was coming back to a 5-28 team that had already endured eight and twelve game losing streaks. Put more appropriately; they stunk like day old stale fart. Wall’s return served as a much needed metaphorical spray of Febreze. Washington went 24-25 over the last 49 games of the year and Wall played like the player we thought he potentially could be, especially once the rust wore off. From March 1st going forward you couldn’t have asked for better play from the 3rd year point guard. Averaging 22.7 points, 7.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and shooting 47% from the field, he showed better shot selection and shooting form, smarter decision making, and even a knack for stepping up against the top competition. His two biggest games of the year were against the two best defenses in the league (Indiana and Memphis), torching them for 37 and 47 points respectively. I said it last year when I ranked John Wall, and I’ll say it again this year: “Over time, Wall is going to learn how to find a better balance between athletic freak and basketball player. When he does the league should look out.” He’s getting closer.