Three games is all it took. John Wall has sent a clear and resounding message to Gilbert Arenas: This is my team, I am willing to do what it takes to win, and you are welcome to join the party.
After just three games, Wall is averaging 23.7 points, 10.3 assists, 4.0 steals, and 2.7 rebounds per game, all while shooting a respectable 46 percent from the field, and 77 percent from the free-throw line. Owner Ted Leonsis handed him the keys to the car, and Wall jumped right in and drove off.
His play on the court is an example to the rest of the Wizards. His tenacity on the court is contagious, and the Wizards are benefiting from it. His message to the team has been loud and clear: I play hard every second I am on the floor, and I expect you to do the same.
Guess what? It is working. In just three games, you are seeing a higher level of energy on the court from JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, and Nick Young. Even though they are lacking consistency, you can see that those three players are beginning to understand that their games can be elevated to a higher level by Wall. Blatche stepped up at the end of last nights game against Philadelphia, and hit clutch free-throws in overtime, helping the Wizards to capture their first win of the season.
There are two other players on the Wizards who are also leading by their play on the court. Kirk Hinrich is playing hard, especially on the defensive end. Al Thornton is looking like a man possessed. He is playing hard on both ends of the court, and has hit some big shots in the last couple of games.
The Wizards are going to make a run at the eighth seed in the playoffs this season.If Arenas wants to be a part of this team, he will be the player to get them over the top. The guard combination of Wall and Arenas could become one of the best in the league.
If Arenas does not want to be with the Wizards, I am sure that several other players will soon want to play beside Wall. The Wizards may need to trade Arenas for some players with expiring contracts, and allow themselves an opportunity to sign a top name free agent next summer. Or if Al Thornton can move into the shooting guard spot when Josh Howard comes back, they may not need to sign a big-dollar free agent.
No matter what happens to Gilbert Arenas this season, the Wizards are John Wall's team.