In his first three seasons in the NBA, John Wall has averaged at least 16 points per game and averages eight assists on his career, but this will be the first year in his career that he becomes an All-Star.
Wall just penned a new contract in the offseason, worth $80 million over five years.
With that new contract come much larger expectations than in past seasons. On Thursday, Wizards head coach Randy Wittman told Comcast SportsNet Washington's J. Michael that he expects Wall to be the most improved player on the team.
Going through what he's gone through this summer, his work in becoming a better player, his contract, the responsibility of that I've been really pleased with his development. I see a different John Wall.
If nothing else, Wizards coaches and fans alike should consider Wall a potential All-Star because of the great second half he had during the 2012-13 season. After missing the first few months with a knee injury, Wall stormed back in January and caught fire, averaging 22.1 points in March and 23.9 in April, according to ESPN.
Wall showed more maturity in his third year, and he's only 23 years old, so there is plenty of room for growth. But any point guard who can average around 23 points and and seven assists, like Wall did in the last two months, should be considered an All-Star.
To compare, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 assists last season and was named to the All Star team in the East, while in the West, Chris Paul of the Clippers averaged 16.9 points and 9.7 assists.
Besides an improvement in his own game, Wall should see an improvement in the play around him—and more wins for the Wizards will lead to more recognition for Wall, the undisputed leader in Washington.
Returning starting small forward Martell Webster played much better when Wall was in the lineup, and his point average went up by about four, according to ESPN.
The Wizards also added Al Harrington to stretch the floor and shoot three-pointers as a power forward. Having Harrington on the court (assuming he stays healthy) will allow Wall to drive to the hoop more often, and he should have more room to shoot from mid-range.
Washington also drafted small forward Otto Porter out of Georgetown, a 42.2 percent three-point shooter in his final year at G-Town. Webster was also the best three-point shooter for the Wizards last year and should provide a threat on the perimeter once again.
Having that extra space in the middle would be a huge help to Wall, who only shot 37.9 percent from mid-range last season, according to Vorped.
Increasing that mid-range average to even 44 percent would help his point total and propel Wall to All-Star status.
While having a high-scoring offensive could pick up the Wizards a few wins throughout the season, it looks like Wittman is prepared to go with a defense-first approach. If Washington's defense holds true, the team should get more wins.
Center Emeka Okafor, who led the team in rebounds and blocks last season, is back and Nene finally looks to be 100 percent. With the addition of Harrington the Wizards should be able to cut down on Nene's minutes, allowing him to play more games.
Veteran small forward Trevor Ariza was also a valuable defensive asset last season, and Wall pitched in as well with over a steal per game along with four rebounds.
If Washington can keep up the defensive pressure they put on opponents last year en route to becoming the eighth-best scoring defense in the league, it will keep opponents on their heels, which will once again open the floor for Wall and company.
Between the addition of new talent and the growth of Wall as a player, he is primed for a great 2013-14 season, which will almost certainly feature him as an All-Star come February.
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