Representing your country is undoubtedly one of the biggest honors an athlete could receive in his career. With that said, it’s been a long time since the Washington Wizards had players on their roster to receive invites to USA Basketball training camp, let alone having an actual shot at making the Team USA roster. Well, that has all changed with their recent growth and improvement as a basketball team.
After making the All-Star team for the first time in his career this past season, John Wall has accepted an invite to Team USA training camp in Las Vegas and he’ll be joined by his teammate Bradley Beal, who’s represented the country at the U17 level.
John Wall was originally left off a pool of players which included the likes of Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, but he eventually gained enough attention to earn a late invitation well after the NBA season came to an end. It wasn’t surprising that John Wall was left off the list of players, especially since international basketball typically requires point guards that could shoot the ball well from the outside, but he showed enough improvement this past season to get an invite. Regardless of his outside shot, I think John Wall has a legitimate chance to make the final roster.
Although Team USA usually features guards that could score and shoot the three ball with consistency, John Wall has the tools to be very effective on the international stage. Curry, Irving and Lillard are all obviously great scorers who shot the ball extremely well from three this past season, but Team USA will need a distributor. Now, I’m not saying that the players I mentioned aren’t capable of passing the ball, but John Wall led the NBA in total assists and is probably at a higher level in that aspect of his game than the three players I mentioned. John Wall has done a terrific job of getting the most out of his shooter, and I can’t imagine how good Team USA’s offense would look if he gets a chance to share the floor with players like Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, Chandler Parsons or even Bradley Beal.
John Wall is also a much better perimeter defender and is capable of starting scoring opportunities on that side of the floor, which is something Curry, Irving and Lillard have struggled with in the NBA. Now that Russell Westbrook has withdrawn from the competition, Team USA will have to find a way to replace his intensity and effectiveness on defense, and I think John Wall is capable of doing that.
Team USA needs a point guard that could not only score the ball, but get stops, and John Wall is better at doing that than probably any other point guard on the roster. Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry are all great scorers, but Team USA needs a guard that could defend multiple positions as well as play along side another guard.
There aren’t going to be many veteran players that will participate in the FIBA World Cup next month, so Team USA could use another leader. John Wall has proven that he’s capable of leading a team, and even though he’ll play a much smaller role, he could potentially become very important for Team USA if he’s given the chance. Nevertheless, both John Wall and Bradley Beal will have an opportunity to grow amongst some of the best basketball players in the world, so let’s hope we get to see them wear the USA jersey in Spain.