John Wall is out to prove that he is worth the five-year, $80 million extension he recently signed with the Washington Wizards.
According to J. Michael at CSNWashington.com, Wall plans to train with nine-time All-Star Gary Payton before the start of training camp.
Going into his fourth NBA season, Wall realizes that the pressure to lead Washington to the next level will be at an all-time high. Certainly, seeking the guidance of Payton will help the young guard improve in many areas.
Wall will learn a great deal about what it takes to become a premier on-ball defender. Throughout his time in the NBA, nobody had the sheer ability to suffocate players like Payton could.
Likewise, The Glove’s lateral movement and eye for the ball were skills that very few players in the history of the game could even come close to.
Without question, Wall’s athleticism has helped him become one the better off-ball defenders in the league. However, by way of 82games.com, Wall held opposing point guards to a PER of 19.3, which is well above the league average of 15.00.
Thus, learning how to deny space, gain positioning and detect a player’s next move will be aspects of on-ball defense that Wall should improve upon.
Likewise, working with Payton will help Wall offensively.
Over the course of his career, Payton shot 46.6 percent from the field. In addition, Michael pointed out that like Wall, Payton was not the best jump-shooter to start his career, but he worked hard and became a solid one.
In an interview with Kurt Helin of NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk, Payton professed that if Wall knows “he’s not good at something, he’ll go workout at it.”
Certainly, working with a mid-range marksman like Payton should help Wall become a solid shooter from the perimeter.
Expectations are abundant for Wall and the Wizards next season. After years of mediocrity, the time is now to put in the work to achieve great things during the upcoming campaign.
With Wall taking the necessary steps to improve his game, the Wizards certainly look well on their way to doing so.