John Wall Will Not Lead the Washington Wizards to an NBA Championship
John Wall entered the NBA with a ton of hype and more than his fair share of potential to become one of the best point guards in the league. Two years after being drafted by the Washington Wizards, Wall doesn't look the part of franchise savior.
There is no questioning Wall's talent, but talent alone rarely results in regular trips to the NBA Finals.
In terms of statistics, Wall rated in the top 10 for NBA point guards in scoring and assists this season. He averaged a solid 16.3 points and eight assists per game—good for eighth and seventh in the league among point guards—but he ranked 90th among qualifying players in shooting percentage.
Wall shot 42 percent from the field, seven percent from beyond the arc and under 40 percent in 28 games of the shortened season. Wall's strengths are his speed and vision, but his skills are better suited for the open court as opposed to a half-court offense.
Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns ran the open court better than any team in recent memory, but they never made a finals appearance.
The Wizards don't have the kind of talent the Suns had in 2004, 2005 and 2006, which limits how much Wall can flourish as an open-court point guard.
Wall isn't like Derrick Rose; he cannot take games over with pure scoring ability. He is not like Deron Williams; he cannot create for himself away from the basket to force defenses to spread out and open lanes for penetration or passing.
Killer instinct and the ability to take over games is a crucial part of cracking the elite rankings of the NBA. Wall doesn't have either.
It may be tempting to call Wall's second-season struggles a sophomore slump, but it was more revealing of his potential. Based on his ability to distribute, coupled with his poor shooting ability, Wall is best suited as a conduit for success rather than the sole creator of offense.
To clarify, Wall can't be the primary scorer or primary option every time down the floor. The Wizards need a more explosive scorer somewhere else on the floor.
Look at what the Los Angeles Clippers have done with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Both players are capable of success on their own but need each other to thrive. Griffin can work inside the key while Paul forces defenses to watch the perimeter and stop penetration.
Wall is more like Paul in his ability to run an offense, but he doesn't have anyone like Griffin to turn to on the Wizards roster.
The composition of the Wizards roster is not at issue here. The issue is Wall's ability to lead the Wizards back to respectability.
The Wizards have a lot of talent on their roster, but they lack a true elite talent to take the pressure off of Wall. It may come down to trading some of that talent to give Wall the running mate he desperately needs to avoid falling into draft-bust discussions.
It is still incredibly early to consider Wall a bust, but the Wizards have done very little to help his development.
Consider Wall as the foundation for the Wizards' future. The success of the franchise rests on the front office's ability to lure an elite player to Washington.
With Wall and the role players currently on the roster, the Wizards are one player away from competing as long as Wall isn't the featured offensive option.
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