Going into their game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Washington Wizards were riding a successful late-March stretch, having won five of their last seven. But they were without Nené, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Jason Collins, and John Wall was going to have to be their offense.
Lucky for the Wizards, he did just that.
Wall dropped in a career-high 47 points on the Grizzlies, becoming the first player on the season to eclipse the 40-point mark on Memphis this season.
Theory: John Wall is good.— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) March 26, 2013
He was able to eclipse his former career high after downing a few free throws in the fourth quarter, surpassing his old mark of 38.
John Wall has a career-high 40 points against Memphis. He's the first player to drop 40 on the stingy Griz defense this season.— The NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 26, 2013
Wall finished out the game with a few more free throws and a game-sealing three-pointer in the waning minutes, finishing up with 47 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
The best part about Wall against Memphis wasn't the fact that he was looking for, taking and making the best shots he had at his disposal—it's that he was still looking for a way to improve it all after the game was over.
John Wall: "I could have had 52. I missed five free throws."
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) March 26, 2013
His game was exactly the way to show people that he does have the ability to be more than just an athletic point guard who can get to the rim, as he knocked down multiple three-pointers, made long-range jumpers and got to the free-throw line, knocking down an unseemly number of freebies (19-of-24 from the line).
Wall was a belligerent scorer, realizing that his team needed just that kind of game from him if they were to have any chance of winning.
Not only did he go above and beyond, he did it against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA—a squad with stellar perimeter defenders and a brick wall of a back line with or without Marc Gasol.
What this game was, and Wall said as much himself at halftime, was a showcase of what he has become and where he's headed as a pro.
The Wizards are now 21-16 with Wall in the lineup, a rate that would put them in fifth place in the Eastern Conference stretched out over the entire season.
While Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry were stealing the spotlight, John Wall was improving his game and now's like "Hey! Remember me?"
— SBNation NBA (@SBNationNBA) March 26, 2013
While Irving has battled injuries and his team continues to build through the draft, and Curry's team vacillates between being a team that looks completely solid in all facets to a team that looks like it could fold at any minute, Wall has quickly become the leader of a frighteningly rigid Wizards squad.
We've talked quite a bit over the past few weeks about whether or not Wall is a franchise player, and whether or not he is worth a maximum contract.
Wall's own comments spurred the discussion, as he said to Grantland's Zach Lowe regarding whether he thinks he is a max-contract player, "I feel like I am. I do, definitely."
While one game is hardly an indicator of continued success, he definitely did everything in his power to begin changing minds right now.