May 2, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy reacts after a turnover by his team during the fourth quarter of game three in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Amway Center. Indiana defeated Orlando, 97-74. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Van Gundy goes too far in praising the Wizards

All the way back in January, Stan Van Gundy had some harsh words about John Wall, saying on ESPN radio that “I don’t think John Wall’s good enough to be the guy that you build around.” Wizards fan were understandably upset, since Wall wasn’t yet back from injury and many of us felt that he hadn’t been in the league long enough to determine his ceiling.

Well, in lockstep with the rest of the media’s John Wall apology tour in the wake of his 47 point game, Stan Van Gundy had some incredibly kind words for Wall and the Wizards.

“And if you look at the numbers, they’re the ninth-best team in the league if you compare defensive numbers and offensive numbers — the ninth-best team in the league, fourth-best team in the East since he’s come back,” Van Gundy continued. “So this is a team that you could project, with John Wall, could be not only a playoff team but be sitting with home-court in the playoffs. And they were the worst team in the league before he came back. Nobody else has done that for a team.

“But I look at his numbers and he’s still not a real efficient guy. Forty-five percent shooting’s  a little bit better, but for a point guard, 45 percent, and you don’t make many threes, that’s still not really efficient. Three-and-a-half turnovers a game. So there’s still some things to doubt, but his presence has been HUGE for that team, and they went from being a good defensive team, to a GREAT defensive team when he came back. They’re second in the league defensively since he came back.

“So I think that he has proven me wrong in terms of his value to a team. I’m still not sure he’s enough to build a team around, but if you could put a great offensive player around him, then possibly that could be enough to start pushing this team to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.”

-Read the Dan Steinberg’s column here

Now, as much as I want to agree with Van Gundy’s new found love of the Wizards, I have several issues with this. First, the Wizards becoming a top four team in the Eastern conference next year is pretty outrageous. I think the Wizards ceiling for next season is a 6 seed, and that might even be stretching it. No way that’s correct.

Second, I think Van Gundy is giving Wall WAAY to much credit in the Wizards turn around. Wall definitely hasn’t been responsible for the Wizards great defense and while he’s helped the offense, it’s inconclusive about how much he’s helped. And while Wall has been absolutely incredible so far in March, nights like last night against OKC show Wall isn’t a superstar yet.

The facts remain the same as they were before John Wall’s 47 point game: John Wall is a player with tantalizing potential who is improving, but needs to keep improving to be a player to build around. New national media love for Wall doesn’t change this.


Tags: John Wall Orlando Magic Stan Van Gundy Washington Wizards

  • nich obert

    A night with 18 points on 18 shots, 12 dimes and 3 TOs (while missing 4 of their best 6 players) being a bad night kinda shows that he is a max player to me.

    Record don’t lie. Are wins an advanced stat? Have Beal and Nene been THAT much healthier?

    The offensive rating/ defensive rating since Wall comes back paints us- as SVG says, as the 4th best team in the east over that stretch. A hair behind the Knicks. And since our schedule was harder than the first 32 games, and since a theoretically healthy (that’s the rub, but that IS the context) Wizards team isn’t playing Temple, Seraphin and Singleton big minutes but is instead playing Beal, Nene, Webster and Ariza… How is that a stretch?

    Maybe we won’t drub as many playoff teams. But we also won’t have that hideous record against the Cavs, Pistons, Bobcats, Kings of the world.

    IMO 45 wins isn’t crazy. At all.

    I have us (if we get 75 games out of Wall, 70 out of Beal, 65 out of Nene) pegged as 5th next year behind MIA, CHI, IND, And either the Knicks, Nets or Celtics depending on who is healthiest. I’d take us in a 7 game series over the Nets, Bulls, Celtics, Knicks this year without hesitation.

    Eventually you need to come around!

  • nich obert

    As for Wall having the same offensive rating as Price..I’m seeing Wall at 104, Price at 102, and the following players are at 104 or lower:
    Paul George, Pau Gasol, Deng, pierce, KG, rondo, boozer, Jrue, Hibbert, Monta, Klay Thompson, Gerald Wallace, Dwight, Iguodala, Eric Gordon..
    Kevin love and Rubio are both under 100.. Rudy gay is 96, Evan turner is 95and garret temple is 93

    The point is.l it’s a team stat. And scoring 104 per 100 with Wall on the court isn’t bad. There are key players on better offensive teams like Klay and Barnes, and Iggy who are at the same rating.

    Considering the Wizards offensive rating pre-Wall was like 90? That’s a massive addition.

    Wall’s impact on the team is sublime. Superstar quality before these big games even

  • Jason Israel

    Come on this is Van Gundy talking. 1/2 of the most over rated brothers in the NBA. Both brothers had the best center in the league and both of them tanked in the NBA finals.. All either will be remembered by is losing in the finals hanging on to a leg and letting the next Big thing Dwight Howard walk away without a ring. This is the guy who had Shaq in Miami and could not win.