March 3, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) celebrates after making the clinching basket against the Philadelphia 76ers in the final seconds of the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 90-87. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall "Feels" Like He's A Max Contract Player, But Is He?

It’s hard to believe that time has almost come for John Wall.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe, sat down with John Wall about a week ago to discuss various subjects surrounding the Wall and the Wizards. When asked about whether Wall thinks he’s deserving of a ‘max’ contract, Wall replied with

I feel like I am. I do, definitely.

To no one’s surprise, John Wall received immediate backlash for his comments. I think it is safe to say that only a handful of NBA players are truly worth the ‘max contract’, but is John Wall one of those guys? At the time being, he probably is not. Coming off a significant knee injury, I didn’t expect Wall to produce at an All-Star rate right off the bat. With John Wall in the lineup, the Washington Wizards have maintained a +.500 record and have improved in virtually every aspect of the game. We’ve seen guys like Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, and even Bradley Beal thrive with John Wall on the floor. Washington still remains one of the league’s worst offensive teams, but their production has increased marginally. With Wall on the floor, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster have gotten more open looks from the perimeter, as Wall forces opponents to collapse on penetration. Wall, though a inconsistent defender, has shown some flashes of his impact on the defensive side of the floor. Prior to his return, opposing point guards burned the Wizards by attacking the basket. Wall’s length and athleticism not only helps the team in transition, but it helps contain the opposing guards from getting to the basket at a significantly high rate.

Besides, what was John Wall supposed to say? Every athlete will inevitably try to get each and every dime they could possibly get. If Wall was to answer the question with lack of confidence, the fans reaction would probably be even greater. I highly doubt John Wall believes he’s worth the ‘max’ contract behind closed doors. Will he try to get that deal when the time comes? Of course.

Wizards owner, Ted Leonsis, has made some bold roster moves which may have been financial decisions. Then Oklahoma City Thunder guard, James Harden, was reportedly offered to Washington, but Leonsis shot the deal down due to financial reasons. Most recently, Jordan Crawford was traded to the Boston Celtics on the trade deadline for two expiring contracts. I believe that Ted Leonsis will do everything in his power to try to prevent John Wall from receiving a max contract and I don’t blame him. We’ve seen players such as Roy Hibbert receive ridiculous contracts in the off season, only for their production to significantly decrease once the regular season begins. As noted, there aren’t many players in the NBA which deserve the large contracts they get.

At this point of his career, John Wall isn’t a superstar nor a top five player at his position. Other young point guards such as Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday and Denver’s Ty Lawson received roughly around 11/12 million dollars per year. Sure, Wall does have a higher ceiling than both the players mentioned, but he currently isn’t playing with the productivity to warrant a bigger contract.

I realize that Wall’s impact on the team has been very great. He’s clearly the face of the franchise along side Bradley Beal and has helped the Wizards move into a positive direction. If John Wall hadn’t been dealing with a stress injury, which caused him to miss the majority of the season, the Washington Wizards would’ve probably been in playoff contention. But that doesn’t change the fact that Wall still has major holes in his game.

John Wall is beginning to shoot with more confidence, but his percentages are still considerably low. Though improved, Wall’s jump shot still has flaws. During the course of the season, we’ve seen Wall shoot the ball at a very inconsistent rate. There has been times where John Wall’s jump shot had looked very good, but there has also been times where we’ve seen Wall become completely neutralized because of his incapability to knock down jump shots at a consistent rate. Wall’s jump shot may not even be his biggest flaw. His speed allows him to get to the basket at will, but his ability to distribute the ball is probably his biggest asset. With that said, Wall is still prone to turning the ball over at a very high rate.

Sure, John Wall still has the potential to become a ‘max’ player one day, but the front office shouldn’t give him a deal he currently isn’t worth.

With that said, I wouldn’t read too much into John Wall’s response. I’m glad he has the confidence to state his case, and frankly, I don’t blame him. So what do you think? Is John Wall a ‘max’ player? Let me know in the comment section.

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