According to Michael Lee of The Washington Post, the Washington Wizards have signed John Wall to a five-year contract extension worth $80 million. The signing has led to mixed reviews, as the NBA community has been unable to come to a consensus about whether or not this was a smart move.
To eliminate all doubt, Wall deserved every penny of his massive extension from the Wizards.
Wall has been a star since college, when he dominated for the Kentucky Wildcats and created a nationally famous dance celebration. He subsequently went No. 1 overall in the 2010 NBA draft, instantly elevating his star status to that of a potential superstar.
Wall confirmed via Twitter that, three summers later, he's being paid like the player he's expected to become.
Words can't explain how blessed and happy I am! I want to thank my owner Mr Ted Leonsis, GM Ernie Grunfeld and the whole @WashWizards staff!— John Wall (@John_Wall) July 31, 2013
While some may question whether or not he deserves it, that question shouldn't be posed.
Wall has created a new identity for the Wizards, even as they've failed to reach the postseason. While winning games may be the next, and most important step, there's something to be said about what he's done already.
Specifically the fact that he does help them win.
5-28 vs. 24-25
The Wizards were forced to play the first 33 games of the 2012-13 regular season without Wall. The star guard battled a non-traumatic stress injury to his left knee, thus rendering the Wizards as helpless.
During that time, Washington posted a league-worst mark of 5-28. Once Wall returned, the team went 24-25.
Need we say more?
That may not be a postseason-caliber record, but the Wizards made an improvement of extreme measures. After posting a .152 win percentage without Wall, that number shot up to .490 when he returned.
Don't try to deflect that number as meaningless—not much else changed but the fact that Wall came back.
With Wall on the court, the Wizards are a more confident and competent basketball team. They rotate better defensively, execute with significantly greater precision on offense and the entire squad appears more comfortable within the system.
Just ask Bradley Beal, who shot 36.7 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from three-point range while Wall was injured and 46.8 percent from the floor and 46.6 percent from distance once he came back.
That type of impact doesn't go unnoticed within an organization, even if fans and analysts love to pick and choose the numbers that matter when they evaluate stars. In Wall's case, they care more for his flaws than the fact that he's a genuine star.
Why don't we actually check the numbers?
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Wall is the only player in the NBA to average at least 16.0 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game in each of the past two seasons. That includes Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams and, yes, the rest of the NBA.
No one will tell you that Wall is better than those players, but the truth of the matter is this—there's not too much separating Wall from the best in the business.
Through his first three seasons, Wall has tallied career averages of 16.9 points, 8.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. In 2012-13, Wall averaged 18.5 points, 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals on 44.1 percent shooting from the field.
Wall also posted a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.91, which ranked sixth amongst all point guards.
In terms of his consistency, Wall has improved his field-goal and free-throw percentage in every season of his career. He's also improved his assist-per-40-minute mark and Player Efficiency Rating in those three years.
Throw in the fact that he dropped his turnover ratio by 2.5 percent in 2012-13 and you have yourself a player becoming a genuine superstar.
In terms of individual statistics, it's clear that Wall has already approached the realm of the NBA's elite. Evaluating the impact that he has on his team, it becomes clear that Wall is a legitimate franchise player.
Did the Washington Wizards overpay for John Wall?
The clinching factor? This young man has unlimited upside.
Wall is a 6'4" and 195-pound point guard who has every skill, minus a consistent jump shot, that an elite floor general needs. He's also one of the best pure athletes in the NBA, exploding in ways that can only be described in hyperbolic praise.
Did we mention that he's only 22?
Wall isn't a player defined by the upside tag, as he's already one of the top point guards in the NBA. His impact is felt on both sides of the floor, his leadership is revered throughout the organization and, if we're evaluating facts, he's still five years from his prime.
That's quite the scary thought considering he's already come far enough to deserve every penny of a max contract.