John Wall is a player who has been slighted for not living up to his number one pick status his entire career. Many pundits have claimed that Wall is not a point guard. They have said he turns the ball over too much to be considered a top flight guard in the league. They have said he only plays at one distinct speed–fast all the time.
While most of those slights apply to other point guards in the NBA, Wall has been noted mostly because of his number one pick status and because of the Washington Wizards’ futility in the years prior to them drafting him.
Wall has missed out on various lists like the top 25 under 25 on ESPN.com. He has been told he would never be better than Kyrie Irving’s first week in the NBA. He has been cut from team USA’s training camp after not really getting a fair shot of making the roster. He was not named one of the top 30 players in the NBA, falling behind point guards like Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose and Tony Parker–all of which one could say he played better than last season.
But this last season, with it being Wall’s healthiest, he was finally recognized as an All-Star. He played in 82 games and led his team to a fifth seed playoff berth. His team even won an entire playoff series!
But even with those facts on record, Wall was still cut from Team USA’s training camp roster when facing some of his peers and he found out SI thinks he is a harder player to build around than Andre Iguodala, Kawhi Leonard and an old Kobe Bryant.
Wall said it’s because of slights like those he will always have a chip on his shoulder. “Add (being ranked) 31 to it,” Wall said when asked about being cut from Team USA. “I just got a big chip. I still get overlooked. Anybody can say anything about me, I’m not going to say nothing about them. I just use it as motivation. Take notes to put in my phone.”
Wall said he takes notes of his slights in his phone to use as motivation. We can probably be sure Dion Waiters’ comments about Wall and Beal have been added to that list at this point.
When asked about Bradley Beal’s assertion that he and Wall were the best back court in the league, Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard Dion Waiters has this to say: “Nonsense.” Waiters said he and Kyrie Irving are a more formidable duo than Wall and Beal are in Washington.
But Wall had something to say about that after a training camp session when he was asked to respond. “Why he think that? They haven’t seen a playoff game yet so when they make one they can start talking,” Wall said about Waiters remarks.
POW. POW. POW. POW. POW.
“But, if you’re going to be the best backcourt you have to start,” Wall said. “This is the year he’s probably starting. So, let’s see if they the best backcourt. You’ve got to be a starting backcourt to be the best backcourt.”
Translation: HEY, DION. NO FLEX, ZONE! YOU KNOOOW BETTER!
Wall’s chippy side that we’ve seen on the court in previous years is finally spilling over off of the court. He is tired of taking knocks from everyone and seems to be willing to be more candid about what he thinks than he has in previous years.
Wall even continued to talk about why he thinks he is constantly overlooked by people. We can only imagine what players were on his mind when he made these comments.
“This is how I see it: I have never been healthy most of my career. The first three years I don’t make the playoffs. ‘I’m not a point guard, I can’t lead my team.’ ,” Wall said. “You have other guys who haven’t seen the playoffs yet but have individual goals, like I said, they get all the praise.”
“I have no idea why I am overlooked. I am not a great shooter, but I’ve improved. You can’t tell me every year that I haven’t improved,” Wall said. “When I was healthy, I improved. I am one of the most complete point guards in the league. I rebound, assist, play defense, steal, score. I don’t know why I am overlooked. I am still trying to figure it out.”
And he’s right. Statistically, Wall has improved his scoring in every season he has played in the league. His three point percentage jumped from 30 percent in his first year to 36 percent this passed year. That comes after being as low as seven percent in his second year.
Wall is a player who has continued to improve throughout his career on both ends of the floor. Should he continue that trend, he will likely be one of the best point guards in the league if you don’t already consider him as such.
But Wall said he only cares about one thing. That thing is winning games. “I am person that cares about team play,” Wall said. “The main thing is that I want to win. That is how you get known as a point guard–is winning.”
And if he does that, he will be recognized soon enough. Just take a look at Tony Parker and the success he has had from winning. But, at this point, one thing is for sure: John Wall does not care about who’s feelings he hurts.
As far as the Cavaliers and Wizards rivalry being rekindled, we will see what these two squads are really about come November 21st.