It wasn't a matter of "if," but "when." Well, it no longer is a matter of "when," either.
John Wall came close to recording a triple-double last week, in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He finished that night with 29 points, 13 assists, and nine steals. But tonight, the Houston Rockets couldn't stop him, and Wall finished with 19 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, six steals, one blocked shot and only one turnover.
Wall's stats were amazing for the rookie playing in just his sixth NBA game. The points, assists, rebounds and steals were all great, but there were three things that stood out over everything else he did tonight.
First, Wall had only one turnover. Through his first five games, he was averaging almost six turnovers per game. However, tonight he looked under control and made clean, crisp passes.
Second, Wall shot 50 percent from the floor, and knocked down two three-pointers in four attempts. As had been mentioned two weeks ago, in an article I had written about John Wall, he has good form on his jump shot. He just needs to continue shooting from the outside to develop confidence and consistency.
Third, Wall performed his wizardry (pun intended) in front of Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Magic was a guest of Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, and Wall didn't disappoint.
You would think Wall would have been too nervous to dominate the way he did. Instead, he shined, when the lights were bright. Wall's effort, in many ways, was a tribute to Magic, who himself has the second most triple-doubles in NBA history.
What is becoming clearly evident, when you watch the Wizards play, is that there is a chemistry developing on the court. Several players are asserting themselves as leaders on the court, including Wall, Kirk Hinrich, Andray Blatche and Al Thornton. They are also receiving good energy from Yi Jianlian, Hilton Armstrong, JaVale McGee and Cartier Martin.
The only piece of the puzzle missing is the consistent play from Gilbert Arenas.
Tonight, he had a couple of big plays for the Wizards, including a defensive play (you may pick your jaw up off the ground now) which resulted in a steal, and the nice alley-oop to John Wall on a fast-break. But he looked lost at times on the offensive end of the floor, as he is trying to see where he fits in on this team.
He will soon find his place back in the starting lineup, and we will all see if the Wall-Arenas combination is going to work, or if the Wizards need to trade him.
Ultimately, the goal for coach Flip Saunders must be to continue to preach defense. I never had a doubt that this team would be able to score. But if they can play defense as good as they did tonight, or even better, they will be able to win 40-45 games this year, and squeeze into the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Oh, and John Wall will have a few more triple-doubles along the way.