John Wall is the Best Point Guard in the East

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is one month removed from the best season of his career. If you follow him on Instagram you know he’s hard at work to keep proving the doubters wrong next season. After establishing himself as an NBA superstar, is it fair to call Wall the best point guard in the East?

Today’s NBA is absolutely stacked at the point guard position. There is so much talent that some of the best players in the league such as Damian Lillard and Chris Paul did not even make the All-Star game. With all these elite players at one position, it is nearly impossible to 100% accurately rank them.

Looking across the entire league, it is clear Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Golden State Warrior point guard Stephen Curry are on top. Who is number one out of the two is a whole different debate. However, with both these players being in the Western Conference, the top point guard in the East is wide open for the taking.

In the East, there are top point guards such as Toronto Raptor Kyle Lowry and Charlotte Hornet Kemba Walker. However, there are truly only three point guards in the East in the running for number one; Boston Celtic Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving, and Washington Wizard John Wall. As of now, the title for best point guard in the East belongs to John Wall.

When comparing players, the first statistic we look at is points. Out of the three point guards, John Wall averaged the fewest points per game with 23.1, behind Irving with 25.2, and Thomas with 28.9.

How could Wall be better than two players that average more points than him? The game of basketball is much more than just scoring. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this.

John Wall is one of the best passers in the league, averaging 10.7 assists per game, second in the league behind James Harden. Thomas and Irving both averaged under six assists per game.

Wall is also the only player in the league to average more than 10 assists for each of the last three seasons. Wall’s passing ability and amazing ability to somehow always find the open man makes the players around him better, leading them to get paid.

In the 2013-14 season, playing alongside Wall, Trevor Ariza averaged 14.4 points per game, the second best of his career. Ariza also shot over 40% from three, the best in his career by far. After playing with Wall, Ariza went on to sign a four-year, $32 million deal with the Rockets.

Two seasons ago, Jared Dudley was able to revitalize his career playing alongside Wall. The then 30-year-old shot a whopping 42% from three while playing in the nation’s capital, the best he had shot since the 2009-10 season. Dudley went on to sign a three-year, $30 million contract with the Suns, more than doubling his annual salary from the season before.

In the 2012-13 season, Martell Webster while playing with Wall, averaged a career high 11.4 points per game and shot over 42% from three. Webster went from earning the minimum to signing a four-year, $22 million contract with the Wizards. The list of players Wall has gotten paid goes on and on, proving that he makes every single player playing with him better.

Kyrie Irving’s ball handling will always stand out from the rest as he has some of the best, if not the best handles in the entire league. However, Wall has some pretty damn good handles, too. Wall has multiple highlights of impressive crossovers and ankle breakers such as this highlight of Wall bringing Al-Farouq Aminu to the floor.

Isaiah Thomas was one of the most clutch players in the league last season. Thomas earned the nickname Mr. 4th Quarter after his multiple clutch performances and averaged the second most 4th quarter points per game just behind Russell Westbrook. However, Wall too has shown that he has the clutch gene inside him in game 6 of playoff series against the Celtics and Isaiah Thomas himself.

Of course we cannot talk about John Wall without mentioning his speed. John Wall is the fastest person in the NBA, no doubt about it. Walls ability to get up and down the court in the matter of a couple of seconds has led the Wizards fast break offense to become one of most deadly in the entire league.

When comparing players, it is important to remember offense is only half of the game. Defense is just as important. Irving’s pick and roll defense is horrendous, allowing opponents to score 45% of the time in the regular season when defending one of the most basic and widely used plays in the game and over 50% in the playoffs. Cavalier’s general manager David Griffin said that Irving on defense prefers “the path of least resistance.”

Thomas is also frequently labeled a defensive liability. Unlike Irving, Thomas’ struggles on defense haven’t been from a lack of effort. Rather it is his height. Thomas is only 5 feet 9 inches, one of the shortest players in the NBA. Players like Wall can easily drive by Thomas or set up a huge mismatch by putting Thomas on a big man in a pick and roll.

Walls defense on the other hand is exceptional. Wall was second in the entire league in steals, averaging over two per game. Wall was also named to the second team all defense in 2015. Wall’s transition defense is also one of the best in the league, frequently blocking players from behind on break aways. Wall’s defense is on a whole different level than Irving’s and Thomas’.

Yet, Irving is playing in June and has been for three straight seasons while Wall watches on his TV. This should mean something right? Well, if All-Star Kevin Love and the best player on the planet, LeBron James, were not on the same team as Irving, then yes it would mean something. However,  while Irving plays with the King and Kevin Love, Wall has not played with another All-Star in his entire career. Yet, Wall has still managed to make it to the semifinals three out of the last four seasons.

John Wall has taken the crown of the best point guard in the East. It is time for everyone to recognize it.