The NBA All-Star break is over and now teams and players are gearing up for the final stretch of the regular season. Some teams will look to solidify their playoff spots, while some players will look to do whatever they can to get their team to the playoffs.
The MVP race is essentially a two-horse race between Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Sure, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant have legitimate cases to be named MVP and LeBron James puts up MVP numbers every season, but the race is between Westbrook and Harden.
Much like his overall play, John Wall is getting overlooked in terms of MVP voting. Wall is having an MVP-caliber season, but he will not win the award. He probably won’t even be in the top-five on the MVP ballot.
Wall and the Wizards got off to a horrendous start, going 6-11, but have drastically turned things around. Since December 1, the Wizards have the best record in the Eastern Conference. The only teams with better records in the NBA since that date are Golden State, San Antonio and Houston.
Wall’s play has really elevated since the start of the season and that is why Washington is currently third in the Eastern Conference and sit only five-games back of the Cavaliers.
During the horrific start to the season, he was not playing like himself. He was shooting less than 40% from the field (35.8) and hat a rating of negative 6.4 in October and 0.4 in November. Those numbers have risen over the past three months and in February he has a rating of 14.7.
Despite the slow start, Wall is averaging career-highs in points (22.8), assists (10.6, second in the NBA), steals (2.1), field goal percentage (45%) and free throw percentage (81.2). The Wizards go as Wall goes and the start of the season compared to now are prime examples of that.
Now, Wall isn’t the only reason the Wizards are playing so good and are in a position to really be a threat to James and the Cavs in the East. Bradley Beal has played great alongside him despite offseason rumblings of the duo not getting along. He is averaging a career-high 22.2 points per game. Otto Porter has been a blessing for the Wizards as well, averaging a career-best 14.6 points per game.
The starting unit of Wall, Beal, Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat are one of the best starting units in all of basketball posting offensive and defensive ratings of 113.3 and 100.3 respectively.
The evolution of Wall is the biggest reason the Wizards are where they are right now. From how his season started to where it is now and how that reflects his team’s play should give him more MVP consideration, but it won’t. Without Wall, this team would not have made this push, despite the career-highs from Beal and Porter.
John Wall won’t win the NBA MVP Award, but he should at the very least, receive more consideration due to the career-year he is having.