John Wall's Potential: Comparing His Rookie Season to Other Great PG's
John Wall is a great young prospect, we all know.
But people tend to get a little heated when the predictions of Wall becoming better than guards that are the best in NBA history such as Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and even Gary Payton. Yes, Wall has been hit with a nagging injury this year and he has also had his experience hitting the "rookie wall;" but his presence is still always felt on the court.
Wall came into this league with a lot of hype, as expected from a rookie that was picked number one overall, and due to the load of hype he received there were great expectations that were supposed to be met. The way I saw it was that Wall was going to average about 14 PPG and 9 APG for the whole season, win the Rookie of the Year, be selected on the First All-Rookie Team, and give a highlight reel of plays every game.
Of course, not all of those predictions came true due to the emergence of Blake Griffin and the injuries to John Wall and his teammates. Although not all the expectations were met, John Wall isn't a disappointment this year and is doing better than what most of the superstar PGs today did their rookie year.
Now, let's take a look at some of the PGs John Wall is compared to...
Chris Paul had superstar written all over him coming into the league as a rookie from Wake Forest, and seemed to have the complete package needed to become a great PG. CP3 hasn't disappointed yet and is arguably the best "pure" PG in the NBA right now.
The decision making is definitely the difference between the two, although you still have to take into account that when you have a bunch of "project" big men on your team like Wall, some can't catch the ball and could cause a turnover.
Chris Paul seems like the better rookie when looking at the stats as he took better shots and snatched up a few more steals. It's a little shocking that Wall has more assists.
Walt "Clyde" Frazier
Now for Walt Frazier, he came into the league as more of a defensive minded PG in my opinion. If there was an old-time player I had to compare Wall to, I would be leaning on Walt Frazier. Of course, in this era of basketball, Wall would have to be more than just quick on your feet to become an elite defensive player like Frazier, he would have to live in the weight room and add significant shoulder, back, and arm strength that he does not currently have. I am confident Wall can become the elite defensive guard of his era just as Frazier did, and should all those pieces come to fruition, he can stamp his legacy in the same way as well.
Now, due to the lack of statistics that were taken in Frazier's time era, we are unable to see how many steals and turnovers he averaged per game until the early 70's. But the reason I put Frazier on here was because of his shot selection of field goals made, Wall was forced into becoming a scorer as players like Rashard Lewis, Nick Young, and Andray Blatche suffered from injury; which altered his shot selection to becoming somewhat poor at a time.
Russell Westbrook began his emergence in the shadows of Kevin Durant this season and is continuing to make his case for being one of best all-around PGs in the league right now. Westbrook is a John Wall with more muscle, explosiveness, and a better jump-shot. Wall does have an advantage on Westbrook with his vision on the court.
John Wall and Russell Westbrook have very similar stats as a rookie and they both had to deal with the same problem, turnovers. Another thing that Wall and Westbrook have in common that go beyond the stats is being a pesky defender.
I've watched Westbrook on a number of occasions and have seen him make his opposition turn the ball over because of the annoyance he creates on defense. Wall is also the same but often nags the ball-handler a little too much to the point where he gets beat, if Wall just spreads those long arms of his out and not go after the steal so much he could become one heck of a defender.
Isiah Thomas is known as one of the best scoring PGs in the history of the league despite only being a six footer. Although Wall is not yet the same type of scorer that Thomas was, but possesses just the same or maybe a little more speed than Thomas. The potential of Wall becoming anything near the type of scorer Isiah Thomas was is slim, but not impossible.
If he works on his shot a little more and some explosiveness to help him finish in traffic with a little bit more ease he could become a scoring threat. But with the mindset of Wall being a "pure" PG, it is highly doubtful that he would begin to look for the bucket before his teammates.
As shown above, Thomas struggled with taking care of the ball just like Wall; which makes sense being that they were both guards who took over in college with their speed and had to later adjust to the NBA speed in order to become successful...well, at least Isiah Thomas learn (We haven't found out about Wall yet).
Right now Rose is what is happening, and John Wall is what's going to happen in the future.
Now, remember this comparison is based off of the rookie year of Derrick Rose versus the rookie year of John Wall, as far as the individual stats tell us. Yes, Derrick Rose took his Bulls to the playoffs, and yes, Rose put up a good fight against the Celtics in the playoffs. But you have to consider the fact that John Wall went to a screwed up organization who experienced the death of their owner and the downfall of their superstar (Arenas).
Rose had better percentage shots and took care of the ball more, but I'd have to say that Wall did slightly better than Rose in his rookie year. Now, I'm not saying that Wall is going to win MVP anytime soon or is going to lead the Wizards to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, but you can't rule him out.
John Wall did not disappoint in his rookie season.
He did have nagging injuries, which were unfortunate, but when healthy, he did just as good as many expected. His jumpshot still needs improvement, but it is developing a lot quicker than the time Rose took to develop his shot.
The fact that Wall can still manage to get eight assists a game is incredible to me being that he was on the depleted Wizards who had two of their best 3-point shooters on the bench as a result of injury. The Wizards may seem like a joke in the league now, but after surround Wall with some talent, the Wizards could be a threat in the Eastern Conference again.
I'm not sure what some people were expecting. If Derrick Rose was a rookie in the same year as Blake Griffin, he wouldn't win the Rookie of the Year award either. Although he would get more votes because the Bulls went to the playoffs.
Wall is a stud in the league and shouldn't be overlooked by the amount of hype that came in with him.