John Wall On What Could Have Been This Season, Where He Ranks Amongst NBA Point Guards
The Washington Wizards' ability to develop into a winner by building around John Wall has unquestionably progressed slowly.
The Wizards have struggled with a 63-146 record since Wall joined the franchise as the top pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. Despite an awful winning percentage (.301), Wall has shown this season that he can be a true difference maker for the Wizards when healthy
The Wizards' 20-41 record appears woeful on paper, but it is also misleading. Washington has had very little success without Wall (5-28). Conversely, Washington has performed like a fringe playoff team in the Eastern Conference with Wall in the lineup (15-13). The record differential displays a stark contrast and verifies Wall’s value to the franchise.
With that in mind, nobody was happier to see Wall return than Randy Wittman.
“He puts pace into the game for us,” Wittman told RealGM. “He has the ability to see the floor very well, has the ability to get to the rim, and for us it’s important to have pace. We’re not a team that wants to walk the ball up and down the floor. Those are the things that he gives us that we didn’t have with him missing.”
P.J. Carlesimo also recently had high praise for Wall. According to Carlesimo, slowing down Wall is a difficult task.
“Wall is probably the fastest guy in the league with the ball,” said Carlesimo. “You can talk about Kyrie (Irving), Rajon (Rondo), and Russell (Westbrook), but I really think foul line to foul line with the ball, John Wall is the fastest guy in the league so that changes their dimension.”
In an interview with RealGM, Wall ranked himself among the top guards in the game.
“Well, it’s me, I put myself on the top. I mean that’s just how competitive I am,” Wall told RealGM. “I put myself somewhere in the top five, top 10. I mean there’s a lot of talented point guards out there. I feel like when I’m at my best is when I’m playing freely with confidence, not worrying about anything, and just going out there and playing basketball. It’s kind of tough because I’ve missed most of the season this year, but I think we’ve been doing a great job this year since I’ve been back and just trying to see how many wins we can get as a team.”
While Wall’s unique combination of size and speed allows him to get to the rim effectively, he believes he has only scratched the surface of his potential and wants to see improvement in three areas.
“Just keep improving on my jump shot,” Wall told RealGM. “Turning the ball over, careless turnovers. I think I have one or two a game, but try not to have any. But it’ll be like the ones you try to force the issue on that are not really there. So it’s just turning those down, keep improving on my jump shot, and just leading my team.”
As Wall strives to perfect his game and bring back a winning culture to Washington, he feels at ease knowing he’ll have backcourt teammate Bradley Beal by his side.
“He’s a great knockdown shooter and he’s very talented and mature for a 19-year-old kid coming into his first season,” Wall told RealGM. “He’s having a great season so far and I think we have a great backcourt tandem. I think we’ve got a great team that could have been in the playoffs if we were healthy all season, but we just look forward to keep trying to finish the season on a positive note and just prepare ourselves for next season.”