When drafted in 2010 with the first pick, the Wizards and their fans knew that Wall had the raw athleticism and basketball IQ to be a star. He was very raw, however, and would need to develop into a leader for a floundering team, as well as develop his own game by adding a jump shot. This four year experiment is finally looking to pay off in huge ways.
After barely defeating the Denver Nuggets last night 117-115, the Washington Wizards are (30-15) and in 2nd place in the East behind the inexplicably hot Atlanta Hawks. While the Wizards finally have the talented and deep roster that they have desperately needed for years, John Wall’s development this year has clearly been the catalyst for their success. Coming off of a 19 point and 16 assist game Wall has proved once more why he deserved the number one pick.
Wall, now in his fifth season, leads the league in assists at 10.2 per game, and is second in steals at 2.0 per game. His scoring has gone down a little since last year, but his FG% is up almost 5% since last year, a significant gain for a player who has always been hounded for his shooting inability. He is taking smarter shots, making a higher percentage of shots, and finding his teammates for an increase of almost two APG over his career average. In the midst of this increase, his turnover numbers remain similar to his career average, at around 3.5 per game.
All of these improvements, as well as the rounding out of the roster have culminated in a Wizards team that is winning against talented teams, and is a serious contender for a title. They made it to the second round of the playoffs last year, a feat that was considered a surprising success. Now in 2015, anything short of an Eastern Conference Finals showing would be disappointing. Wall is on the starting roster for the Eastern All-Stars, a well-deserved honor, but perhaps more importantly, he is seriously in the conversation for MVP. If he and the Wizards can make an extra push during the second half of the season, and if the Hawks cool off, I believe that Wall could very conceivably win that award. He will have to worry about guys named Curry and Harden fighting for it as well, but with almost half of the season left anything can happen.Add a comment