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It’s now or never for John Wall

August 29, 2012


Players aren’t the only things that fly in the NBA…..so does time.

Can you believe that John Wall is already entering his third season? I know guys in this era play close to 20 years but, still, John’s already worn two different uniforms for the Washington Wizards.

When I look at Wall, I see the explosiveness of a Derrick Rose mixed with the wiry craftiness around the rim of a Dwyane Wade or Tyreke Evans. The way he prefers to use his left hand at the rim is uncanny and usually seen in ‘bigmen’, not point guards. The tools are all there…..the task is to now blend them into a consistent floor general that makes his teammates better and not just himself.

If you look at recent history, the 3rd season is the breakout campaign for a star point guard. It’s when we find out if he’ll be a superstar with championship aims or just a place-filler in somebody’s lineup. Make no doubt about it…..it’s now or never for John Wall.

Derrick Rose spent his first two seasons in Chicago attacking the rim but losing in the first round of the playoffs. Then, in year three, he exploded. Rose added a consistent perimeter shot and strong leadership to all of his already spectacular attributes. Voila, an MVP was born.

Chris Paul was drafted to the obscure and rebuilding New Orleans Hornets in 2005. In 2008, just three years later, he led the team to arguably their best run in franchise history (sorry Zo n’ Grandmama). CP3 even turned Tyson Chandler into a consistent player…something that was once thought to be impossible. That year, in year three, Paul was runner-up to Kobe Bryant in MVP voting.

Fast forward to 2012, and it’s that time for John Wall…break through like those superstars or be forgotten like so many others. I’m not talking about stats, though those did change a bit for both Rose & Paul. CP3′s points and assists both went up remarkably in year three while his turnovers stayed the same…impressive. In Rose’s case, his ppg did go up 5 in year three but his assists and turnovers per game each increased by one as well…hardly Nash-esque. Sure assist-to-turnover ratio and shot selection must improve for Wall, but it’s all about the end result: leading your team to a winning season and exceeding expectations. That’s what the aforementioned stars did in their third years, an improvement that isn’t always seen on paper. A playoff run in Washington should surpass all expectations, surely no one expects that to happen given the past few seasons.

Speaking of recent seasons, General Manager Ernie Grunfeld has done a masterful job…just as he has so many times in the past (see Knicks, Bucks). All the knuckleheads are gone in Washington: JaVale McGee and Nick Young traded, Andray Blatche waived. Wall is now surrounded by a veteran frontline: Nene, Emeka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza. He also has a mature young running mate in the backcourt to grow with. Lottery pick Bradley Beal, the perfect blend of Derrick Rose and Ray Allen (in both game and, oddly, appearance), is the team’s future at shooting guard. He’ll help space the floor for Wall as well as the new ‘bigs’.

Head coach Randy Wittman is also firmly in John Wall’s corner. He is his biggest supporter going forward, something Flip Saunders couldn’t do with that locker room of young misfits back in 2010.

The team is doing a commendable job of changing the culture in the nation’s, through personnel decisions and new uniforms.

It’s now on John Wall to do the rest…..and become a superstar.

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One Response to It’s now or never for John Wall

  1. CAGE on December 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm


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