With the season already past the midway point, NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So before March Madness takes over, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro will be profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. First up, Kentucky’s John Wall.
Player Comparisons: Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo
Wall has top-notch speed, strength and explosiveness for a point guard. He’s not afraid to show it either. Infamous for monstrous dunks and blocks on athletically inferior opponents, this should help him at the next level where everyone needs every edge they can possibly have.
Shooting and self-control are the two parts of Wall’s game that are often in question. He’s a fairly consistent shooter, but it is unsure whether he has NBA three-point range. His shot overall has room for improvement as well. When the game speeds up, he also tends to be turnover-prone. While these may seem like major gaps in his game, he does have other great fundamental skills. His court vision may be the best in college basketball along with his ability to create for his own in isolation plays.
For someone who is just a freshman, Wall is the most NBA-ready player in this year’s draft. This may be partially due to the fact that he played five years of high school basketball. This kind of experience will help him make a smooth transition to the NBA.
Wall has drawn many comparisons to Derrick Rose. There are even a few scouts that say he can be better than Rose, owing to his killer instincts and play-making ability at this stage in his career. The hype that Wall has received makes him seem too good to be true. I guess we’ll have to wait until the NCAA Tournament to see how he handles pressure. That will be the last unknown that will reveal his true potential.
Best Fit: Indiana Pacers*
Danny Granger is a borderline franchise player and he needs another threat on the floor to take the defense’s attention off of him. T.J Ford was supposed to be that guy, but that experiment did not end up working out. Bringing in Wall would be beneficiary to both he and Granger. His transition to the League would not be as hard as other rookie point guards in the pass, as Wall would not have to lead the Pacers like Rose had to lead the Bulls in 2008-2009. Adding a dynamic duo like this to the East would have to scare teams such as Cleveland, Orlando, Boston and Atlanta.
Runner-Up: Washington Wizards
The Wizards are desperate to move on from the Gilbert Arenas era. While they do not have that good a chance at landing the first pick (3.6%), Wall would be the ideal shift of focus in Washington. This would also be a way for Flip Saunders to keep his job. Maybe the Wizards should start losing more games in order to increase their chances…
*While the Nets currently have the best chance at Wall, I don’t see them as the best fit for him. With Devin Harris on the roster, it would be strange for Wall to have to play out of position – although if New Jersey landed Wall, Harris could be on the next bus out of town. Indiana and Washington are seriously lacking at the point guard position and need someone to turn their team around.
What do you think?
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