Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wall Expectations

John Wall - 6'4", 195 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
34.8 minutes, 16.6 points (46.1% FG, 32.5% 3PT, 75.4 FT%), 4.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists, .5 blocks, 1.8 steals, 4 TOs

Our basketball savior. The guy who made it cool to be a Wildcat again. The guy who calls LeBron James and Drake whenever he's bored. The guy who President Obama name drops about. No, I'm not talking about John Calipari. I'm talking about John Wall. That guy.

Here's the scary thing about Wall at the next level: I believe he could possibly be playing at the level of a slightly altered version of Dwyane Wade within two years. He's got the same kind of size and left for the pros a year before Wade. He's got all the same effortless skills (blinding speed, sick hops, paint penetration at will, incredible court vision, reliable mid-range jumper, and cold-blooded scoring mentality in dire situations) that made Dwyane so special coming in. All Wall needs to do is build on those skills in his arsenal already. He's as quick a learner and willing adjustor as I've ever seen in college basketball. John would identify the situations where his team needed him to force the action and do exactly what needed to be done. It was shown most blatantly in the Stanford, UCONN, and (loss at) Tennessee games. Dwyane even started his rookie year attempting the point guard role before he was slid over to his natural 2 spot, but it's obvious that Wall will be pegged as a point for his whole career and put up better stats than Dwyane's, still exceptional, assist numbers. In the reckless way that both attack the basket and are adept at finding some amazing way to finish the play at the rim and draw fouls, I honestly do think John can come close to being as feared a scorer as Wade. Dwyane is probably the third best player in the entire league today and a guaranteed Hall of Famer when it's all said and done. That's the kind of potential that John has.

Dwyane Wade - 6'4", 220 lb.
2008-2009 with Miami Heat
38.6 minutes, 30.2 points (49.1% FG, 31.7% 3PT, 76.5% FT), 5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, 2.2 steals, 3.4 TOs

To exemplify the unworldly expectations of John in the pro ranks, I think the absolute worst he could do as a youngster is replicate Derrick Rose's numbers in a Rookie of the Year-type performance. It's way too easy of a comparison to make, so I'll focus on the differences. Wall's and Rose's 3-point marksmanship were nearly identical in college, both in makes and percentage, but I see Wall as having a little more range in his early career and already has a head start in becoming a more proficient shooter. Where Rose really took the NBA by storm was in his rookie playoff debut, notching 36 points (12-19 FGs and 12-12 FTs), 4 rebounds, and 11 assists all while pulling off the upset. That's winning time. And that's where John Wall has to re-prove himself at. Sure, he hit a game winning 15-foot jumper in his NCAA debut and knocked down every single clutch free throw he ever needed, but he has to prove it again in the national spotlight. His tournament numbers weren't as outstanding or prevailing as Rose's, so it's up to Wall to prove that was a fluke and that he can lead an underwhelming team into playoff contention right away ... like Rose. What better measuring tool is there to compare two insanely talented and freakishly athletic freshmen point guards who played under the same head coach within a three year span? I guess lightning does strike twice, albeit once in Memphis and once in Lexington.

Derrick Rose - 6'3", 190 lb.
2009-2010 with Chicago Bulls
36.8 minutes, 20.8 points (48.9% FG, 26.7% 3PT, 76.6% FT), 3.7 rebounds, 6 assists, .3 blocks, .7 steals, 2.8 TOs

Here's the bottom line: John Wall is guaranteed to be a stud. He was simply already an NBA caliber player his senior year in high school. His style of play is tailor-made for the more wide-open pro game with limited zoning. He's got as quick a first step as you can find and he always has purpose with the ball. I know he has a turnover problem; everyone knows that. But so does Steve Nash, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant. So the TOs aren't an indication of any sizable flaw in his game; he just has to figure out how to utilize his teammates the right way over time and those lost possessions will naturally shrink. While obviously not against the greatest competition, Wall averaged 23.5 points, 7.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals in four summer league games. That's a sick pro platform to jump off of.

Now all that remains to be seen is how Flip Saunders tries to mesh Gilbert Arenas and Wall in the offense together. The entire guard rotation comprises of the two aforementioned players plus Kirk Hinrich and Nick Young; so John's going to get heavy clock from day one, most likely starting every game unless something terrible happens. I swore off believing in Arenas' ability to be a quality teammate in the future, but I'm forced to root for him being a positive influence in the career of UK's first number one overall NBA Draft pick ever. Everybody's eyes are gonna be on Wall in the nation's capital. He's gonna have to balance putting in the time practicing his 3-pointers with all of Barack Obama's personal texts, but he'll make it work. He's made for this.

... and do the John Wall.

6 comments:

  1. oops! i meant to put eric bledsoe's max pro potential at the level of jon payne ...

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  2. thank you very much. appreciate it.

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  3. impressive. you should try to work for KSR!

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so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?