"He can't shoot", "What has he won?" "He's not as good as Steph, Westbrook, Kyrie and Damian Lillard." Those are just SOME of the negative responses you get when you ask people around the DMV about Wizards point guard John Wall. Let's be real, it's a love/ hate relationship between the DC area and John Wall. For what reason, I'm not sure, but it's definitely there. Yet, I'm here to tell DC.....appreciate John Wall before it's too late. In recent memory, we have drove away countless young talent who went on to become standouts elsewhere (Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton anyone....), yet here we are taking another young talent for granted who has already blossomed into being one of the best in the game. As a DMV born and raised man who came up through the ultra competitive basketball community here, I believe I'm more than qualified to say, DC WAKE UP AND EMBRACE JOHN WALL!
DC can be very pessimistic towards it's local sports teams and players, and often times, it's unfair negativity coming from unrealistic expectations. That's especially true when it comes to Wall. While everyone is quick to point to his flaws, let me point out what he does well. Wall is one of the top point guards in the NBA, in fact the only point guard comparable all around is Russell Westbrook. He has a career average of 18 points, 9 assist, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals, has made three consecutive NBA all star appearances, and led the Wizards to the playoffs two out of the last three seasons. Defensively, he's arguably the best in the league at the point guard position, and it's really not a debate due to his on ball defense, how he play's the passing lane and his timely shot blocking. Not to mention, he took the reigns of a franchise that was pretty much sent to the bottom of the league after the Arenas/Crittendon locker room fiasco and brought it back to relevance. That's why I personally love Wall, his mentality, his will. A lot of players have the talent, however when things become hard and a challenge is in front of them, they turn around and run from it, Wall runs towards it. He's already in the mix with the best of the best and here is the scary part about that, he just turned 26, he hasn't even hit his prime yet and his numbers are already hall of fame worthy. Here are a few point guards in the hall of fame who has similar numbers to Wall, Isiah Thomas (19.2 points, 9.3 assist and 1.9 steals ), Nate "Tiny" Archibald (18.8 points, 7.4 assist and 2.3 rebounds), Jason Kidd not yet in the hall yet soon will be ( 12.6 points, 8.7 assist and 6.3 rebounds), Gary Payton (16.3 points, 6.7 assist and 1.8 steals), John Stockton ( 13.1 points, 10.1 assist and 2.2 steals). Wall is in some pretty good company I will say. All of the aforementioned point guards all had specific flaws, yet one thing they had that Wall doesn't fully have from DC is all out support, and don't bring up championships which Wall still has years to obtain, Stockton never won a ring although I'm pretty sure he's an icon in Utah.
"Number one picks are suppose to deliver a championship," I also have been told in criticism regarding Wall. No, number one picks are looked at as a cornerstone of a franchise to build around in HOPES of winning a championship. It's a team game, no one player can deliver a championship. If that was the case, Wilt Chamberlain would've won more than two rings.
With all that being said, DC, open your minds and embrace this man. He's a one of a kind talent that don't come along very often. Injuries have plagued the Wizards leap from a middle of the pack eastern conference team to conference contenders. Remember in the 2015 semifinals against the Hawks, Washington was on their way to the eastern conference finals had Wall not injured his wrist. Regardless, when healthy, the Wizards are a tough out, and a lot of that is because of John Wall. Show that man some love, otherwise he may look elsewhere for it, and that's an alternative Washington as a franchise can't afford to have happen......again.