John Wall versus Great Expectations. You can find that on the newest cover of Dime Magazine, which hits newsstands nationwide this week. We think it’s time for Wall to make the jump from good young player to superstar, and many other players around the league agree with us. “John is definitely one of those younger guys that we look at in this league as a guy that’s on the brink of becoming a star,” LeBron James told The Washington Post recently. He’s right. Wall has twice averaged at least eight assists a night. He’s 6-4 and long, and already is a major pest defensively. He has 2K-level athleticism, and is in a system designed for him to go to work. Now it’s all up to Wall to make the ascent, and according to the man himself, he’s ready to do that.
Wall told HoopsWorld (via ProBasketballTalk):
“I’m very confident,” he told HoopsWorld from Vegas, while his hipster glasses were tucked into his shirt. “I mean, the organization, the general manager, the owner and the coaching staff are doing a great job. Now it’s just up to us the players to go out there and execute what they’re giving us and play our best.”
The man with the mic then asked Wall if it was time for him to make the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s time for me to be in the playoffs, it’s time to be an All-Star,” Wall said. “It’s all those type of things that I’ve been wanting and wanting [for] this organization, to help the Wizards get better. So it’s all up to me to lead my team and us to get better.”
Wall truly wants to be the savior in Washington. He told me as much this summer. The response I hear from everyone is that he needs to start making jump shots. But why? He’s one of the best attackers in the entire league. Among point guards last season, only Tyreke Evans (who didn’t even play point during the second half of the year) and Russell Westbrook scored more often at the rim than John Wall – he made 3.6 shots a game at the basket. Why does he need the jump shot when he’s so good doing everything else? I asked Kyle Lowry about that this summer, and he agreed, saying Wall just needs to play his game and not try to do things he isn’t good at. He only needs to be average from the perimeter.
Wall won’t become an All-Star because he gets a great jumper. He’ll become one by improving on his strengths. If he eventually does find an outside shot, that’s only gravy.
As for the Wizards, they’ll probably be in the playoffs before Wall makes an All-Star Team. They’ve knocked it out of the park a few times already during this summer, trading for established vets like Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, and then drafting Bradley Beal, a perfect fit next to Wall and the man who could become the second-best player from the 2012 Draft class. They still aren’t much better than 30-40 wins. But in the East? That gives you a shot at the second season.
Philadelphia lost a starter. Atlanta is much worse than they were before, having given away Joe Johnson for nothing. The Bulls won’t have Derrick Rose for most of the season, and are about to lose Omer Asik. Orlando will almost certainly trade Dwight Howard for picks and young players sometime before the deadline, and the Knicks just let their point guard sensation walk out the door. The East is ripe for a sleeper playoff team.
Wall has big goals for this year, and plans on finally meeting all of his lofty expectations. Making the playoffs AND All-Star Game might be asking too much in one season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one of them come true.
Is this the year Wall puts it all together?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.