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*based on head-to-head format*
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The Washington Wizards were one of the hottest teams down the stretch last season, and at the forefront of that run was former first overall pick, John Wall. Despite missing the first few months of last season with knee issues, Wall finished as strong as any other point guard in the league. In nine April games, he averaged 23.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists, with 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks. Entering his fourth season, there’s no reason to think that Wall can’t replicate that stretch.
Wall and Rubio are actually very statistically similar. Some in the head-to-head game might prefer Rubio’s dominance in assists and steals, but that production comes with downfalls. Rubio is just a 36 percent career shooter and he does it on over nine attempts per game, while adding only about a half of a three per game. While Wall doesn’t shoot the three-ball with any fantasy relevancy either, at least he knows his role and doesn’t take the shots, averaging just one three-point attempt per game.
The biggest and most important difference in their game is in the blocks department. Getting blocks from your guards can be crucial to your team, especially if you’ve already drafted a big man like Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony, who barely add any value to that category. Last year, the only guard eligible player to average over a block a game was Nicolas Batum. Right behind him was Wall, who finished the season with 37 blocks in 49 games. That doesn’t sound like much, but realizing that any block you get out of your point guard is unexpected, and should just be considered as gravy. It makes a huge difference. The only point guards expected to be in Wall’s class when it comes to swatting shots this year are Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and possibly Eric Bledsoe. If your bigs are a little weak, it’ll make a big difference if you can grab any two of these guys.
Almost equal to Wall’s dominance in blocks over Rubio is his dominance in scoring. I’m not pretending that Wall is a saint when it comes to field goal percentage, but I’ll take 44 percent on 15 attempts over 36 percent on nine attempts any day. Wall has no problem getting to the basket on any possession in which he chooses to, and as he learns to finish better around the rim, he’ll see an increase in both field goal percentage and points. He’s a much better bet to improve his percentage than Rubio, whose points often come off of jumpers.
The categories that Rubio beats Wall in aren’t as drastic as the ones the Wall trumps Rubio in. You’re crazy if you’re going to draft a player with less upside because he gets a steal more per game and has the upside to average double-digit assists. When it comes down to it, Wall has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA, and as he grows as a player, his stat lines will reflect. Don’t sleep on both Wall and the Wizards as a team.