2013 Season in Review: John Wall

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Nithin Kuchibhotla:

Of all players on the Wizards’ roster, John Wall remains the toughest to assign a specific grade to for the 2012-2013 campaign. He was all over the spectrum, from missing the first 33 games due to a stress injury in his knee, to slowly getting back into form while playing limited minutes and hoisting up errant shots, to becoming one of the better players in the league down the stretch. Washington became a respectable team once their floor general was back in command, as they finished a shade under .500 with Wall on the court (24-25). And their record when Wall, Beal, and Nene all suiting up was even more impressive at 15-7. So as always, potential is the operative word when discussing this team, and in this case its future with John Wall. Next year, the playoffs will be a goal in the forefront and a healthy squad should get it done. But how did he measure up this season? And where does he rank amongst the best point guards in the league?

Wall’s career thus far has been a bumpy ride, partially due to injuries he’s suffered in his 1st and 3rd years, and the rest thanks to inadequate teammates. With the knuckleheads out and the veterans in, things were supposed to change dramatically. But although the locker room had a more serious tone, the talent level was not much better. Regardless, the team’s improvement was dramatic with Wall. His per-36 minute numbers and advanced statistics were improved across the board, and he quadrupled his 3-point shooting percentage from the year before. He finished with a PER of 20.7 (bettering that of Deron Williams) and was top 5 in the league in assist percentage. Wall’s explosion this season was highlighted by the magical 47-8-7 performance he dropped on the Memphis Grizzlies and he took that opportunity to establish himself as a premiere player in the league (it looks as if people around the NBA are picking up on it. ESPN experts ranked him the #21 player in the league, just a couple months removed from Wall not even cracking the top 25 players under the age of 25).

This season was possibly a make or break year for John Wall and he resurrected himself with his late strong play to counteract the long-term injury and slow start. He’s likely to receive a maximum contract extension from the Wizards this offseason, so for better or worse this is the guy who will be the face of the franchise in the years to come. I expect him to further polish his game and make sure his jump shot is better than an accident when it goes in. Defensively, he has all the tools to be elite, but it comes down to a question of work ethic and desire. More emphasis on that side of the ball will differentiate him from a lot of other top-tier PGs in the league. John Wall – the Wizards best hope for an optimistic future. Good season, but the city expects a great one starting in November.

Final Grade: B+

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