Is it safe to say that the former number one overall pick has arrived?
Back in 2010 the balls bounced the right way for the Washington Wizards and they landed what they hoped would be their point guard of the future, a player to build around, and a player to lead the team in John Wall.
His impact was felt immediately as he averaged 16 points and 8 assists per-game in his rookie campaign, finishing second to Blake Griffin in rookie of the year voting.
The next two seasons that followed included similar stat lines, the same explosiveness, the same mistakes, some injuries, and fans wanting more out of the point guard that had his own dance.
Fans questioned: is this really the guy? Can he lead the Wizards?
The front office thought so when they gave Wall a max deal after a season where he played in just 49 games. In those 49 games however, he showed flashes of the player he could be, even hanging a career high 47 points on the western conference finals bound Memphis Grizzlies. That game and other flashes, numbers, and factors led the Wizards brass to reward Wall.
So naturally, after receiving a contract like that, fans expected Wall to make a leap and show out this season. In case you had been living under a rock; Wall has met and exceeded the expectations.
This past week included a stretch of games where Wall put up 30-plus points in three consecutive games, including wins over the Knicks and Lakers. He followed that up with 19 points in a win over the Bucks, just 9 points in a loss to the Pacers (come on, who hasn't struggled against the Pacers?), and then put up 26 points and dished out 12 assists on his way to leading the Wizards in a win over the Atlanta Hawks.
After the win against the Knicks (where he scored 31) CSN Washington's Chris Miller asked Wall, "What statement are you trying to make to the league right now?"
Wall responded with:
"The best point guard in the league. That's my statement."
Well, that's a big statement.
It's not one that should be taken lightly or laughed off either, because believe it or not, there's an argument for Wall in regards to that title.
Among all point guards league-wide Wall currently ranks fifth in points, second in assists, fourth in rebounds, first in minutes played, and fourth in steals in per-game stats. Pair that with six double-doubles, night after night highlights like this and this, an average stat line of 19-4-9 with a PER of 20.94, and you have yourself a point guard knocking on the door of elite status.
Folks reading this are saying to themselves, "Well yeah, Wall is good, but he's not better than Chris Paul."
I'm not ready to say that CP3 is better than Magic Johnson. Really, I'm not ready to say that he is better than John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Oscar Robertson, or Gary Payton. However, I am ready to say that he is the best point guard that the league has to offer at this time.
Paul leads the league in assists, averages a double-double (has 14 of them in games this season), and leads all point guards in rebounding as well. He does it all for the Clippers as a leader, facilitator, defender, and a scorer, too. Not only is the best point guard in the league, but he is easily one of the top five overall players in the NBA right now.
So with Paul holding down the number one spot, where does Wall rank?
It's simple really. With guys like Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo injured, Wall easily climbs this list to the number five slot with Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry in front of him.
Why would I take these guys over John Wall? Allow me to explain:
Paul: Come on, do I have to explain this one?
Parker: The oldest player in the top five, but also the most decorated. A three time champion and the best player on the team that won in 2007 and the team that came so close to beating the Miami Heat in seven games last season. Parker still has the complete package at the point with his passing and scoring.
Westbrook: Hustle is Westbrook's style of play and what I believe make the Thunder such a tough team to defend. His relentless and dynamic style creates a big problem for guys trying to defend him one on one, and on the off chance that they do stop him it creates great open looks for the rest of his teammates.
Curry: Currently, Curry is the better scorer and passer. I'd say Wall is the better defender and more explosive with his speed, but when you can have a guy like Curry who can get hot at any moment and make nearly every shot he looks at you have to take him. Even when he isn't hot, Curry can still score and does a hell of job getting his other teammates involved.
Alright, so I have Paul, Parker, Westbrook, Curry and then Wall.
I know what you're thinking, "WHERE IS KYRIE IRVING?!?!?!?!?!"
As much as I love watching Uncle Drew play, right now John Wall is just. . . better.
Wall is the better defender for sure, and he's also the better facilitator. Irving may have him in scoring and handles, but overall, I'll take Wall. Wall is one of the NBA's best athletes, one of the best defenders of his position, and is great at getting the most out of his teammates. Irving isn't.
Wall also currently ranks ahead of Irving steals and assists per-game this season and also sports better field goal and free throw percentages.
And as we have seen so far this season, Wall is pretty good at that scoring thing too.
With all that said, Irving probably comes in right behind Wall at number six in my point guard rankings. Which means they both are ahead the likes of other eastern conference point guards like Brandon Jennings, Deron Williams, Jeff Teague, Kemba Walker, and rookie of the year favorite Michael Carter Williams. And that means that John Wall is the best point guard the eastern conference has to offer.
No, LeBron James doesn't count.
John Wall is certainly making a case for himself to be in this conversation for years to come. Should Wall continue this play it would be hard to argue that anyone else should start over him at point guard for the east in the all-star game this season. His impressive play continuing should also help the Wizards secure a playoff spot that many projected them to get this season. After starting 2-7, the Wizards have won six of their last eight, with Wall leading them the whole way.
Results and numbers are hard to argue. Is Wall one of the five best point guards in the league and the best in the east?
I'd say so.
Now, everybody do the John Wall: