While there are several marquee NBA point guards under the age of 25—such as the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (age 21), the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard (age 23) and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio (age 23)—the Washington Wizards' John Wall (age 23) rises above the rest.
Fortunately for Wall, consideration for the NBA's best young point guard in this case requires an age of 24 or less; this excludes the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose, the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook and the Golden State Warriors' Steph Curry, who are all 25 years old.
One of the biggest knocks on Wall coming out of Kentucky was that he couldn't shoot—specifically, he couldn't shoot from deep.
While this was all very true early on, as he made just 3-of-42 three-point attempts in his sophomore campaign. However, the Year 4 version of Wall has already converted on a career-high 45 three-point shots in just under half of a season.
What's more is that Wall's newfound prowess from beyond the arc has spurred his points-per-game average to a career high as well. Lillard (21.6 PPG) and Irving (21.4 PPG) do, however, hold a slight edge on Wall's fourth-place ranking among NBA point guards of 19.7 points per game.
That being said, Wall is averaging a career-high 8.6 assists per game, shattering Lillard's and Irving's assist totals of 5.7 and 6.0, respectively. However, Rubio, despite averaging just 8.6 points, has tallied a respectable 8.1 assists per contest.
Well, maybe the argument can be made that Wall's assist numbers have stemmed from having a better supporting cast. If that claim were to be examined, however, here's how the results would shake out:
|Name||Team||Combined Number of All-Star Game Appearances Among Teammates|
|John Wall||Washington Wizards||0|
|Kyrie Irving||Cleveland Cavaliers||2|
|Damian Lillard||Portland Trailblazers||3|
|Ricky Rubio||Minnesota Timberwolves||2|
So, the Wizards don't have a single All-Star to their name, and Wall, on paper, has one of the worst supporting casts. Still, the rising stardom of Bradley Beal and the career-best seasons being experienced by Marcin Gortat and Nene are hard to deny.
Though it may have been unfair to clump newly-acquired Luol Deng into the Cavs' list of All-Stars, it's not like his arrival has made much of a difference in Irving's assist numbers. Since Deng was traded to Cleveland on Jan. 7, Irving has posted 5.25 assists per game in four contests, which is actually under his seasonal average.
Another attribute that boosts Wall above the rest is his leadership. Along with Irving, as it can be debated that Lillard and Rubio aren't even the best players on their respective team. Wall is the sole, undoubted leader of his team, though.
As such, he's risen into his role, as evidenced by Washington's Wednesday night victory over the defending champion Miami Heat, who were playing with all of their stars at full strength.
Irving, in two matchups against the Heat this season, has come away defeated both times by a combined margin of 18 points. In those losses, Irving averaged 17.5 points and just three assists.
Wall scored 25 points while posting nine assists and grabbing five rebounds in Wednesday night's victory, gaining high praise from the NBA's best player in the process.
LeBron James on John Wall: “When John Wall is healthy, they are a very, very good team. He played an unbelievable game tonight." #WizHeat— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 16, 2014
Wall has brought the Wizards back from the doldrums in which he found them nearly four years ago, and he has placed Washington in good position for its first playoff berth since the 2007-08 season.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com.