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John Wall was expected to take a serious leap his sophomore season, but sharing the court with the same bunch of malcontent, immature players, he plateaued and led his Washington Wizards to a paltry 20-46 record. However, Washington and new coach Randy Wittman appear committed to building a positive culture, shipping out perennial headaches JaVale McGee and Nick Young while bringing in Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, three starting-caliber, high-character veterans.
Last season Wall averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 boards, eight assists and 1.4 steals per game with 42.3 percent shooting while connecting on a mind-boggling 7.1 percent of his attempted threes. His rookie numbers were almost all slightly better, as he averaged 16.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.8 steals and hit 29.6 percent of his threes (which still is far from great).
John Wall is entering his third campaign, the year when many other franchise point guards like Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul became the dominant leaders their teams envisioned them as.
The Wizards drafted Wall the perfect backcourt companion in Bradley Beal, a gifted shooter who is unselfish and can both move without the ball and handle the rock. He has a strong foundation around him, so it is up to John Wall to lead his club to NBA legitimacy.
Wall has always been a phenomenal athlete, but he needs to become more than that next season. In his third year, Rose developed a much better outside shot and improved his half-court facilitating, exactly the two facets that Wall must improve.
He is capable of forcing turnovers but needs to work on his defensive discipline and staying with his man instead of ceding position by always gambling for steals.
Last season he averaged a staggering 3.9 turnovers per game. If he wants to lead Washington to their first winning record in years, he needs to make better decisions with the basketball and not force the issue as much as he did. Too often he drove recklessly into the paint without properly reading the defense.
The excuse of a bad team is no longer valid, as Washington has some nice talent and depth both on the frontline with Nene, Okafor, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin and on the perimeter with Beal, Jordan Crawford and Chris Singleton in addition to Wall himself.
Next season, Wall needs to discard the bad habits he has picked up during his first two years and prove he's the player the Wizards thought he could be when they drafted him first overall in 2010.