2010 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: John Wall

Editor's Note, by rook6980: This is the first installment in what I expect to be a regular posting on Draft Prospects.  This series will take a look at the top draft prospects for the 2010 NBA Draft in June. Since the Wizards have three picks, one of them being a potential high lottery pick, I think it's important that we take a look first at the high lottery picks. The plan is to do one or two analysis a week, leading up to a flurry of activity the week of the draft. My DVR is crammed full of College games, and I'm watching them as fast as I can (between Wizards games). So here is my first assessment - John Wall.

  • Team: Kentucky
  • Height / Wt:  6'4" / 195
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: Freshman, 19 Years Old

I read a lot about John Wall before I ever watched him in a game.  More athletic and unselfish than Derrick Rose? A better shooting, better passing Rajon Rondo? Look, up in the sky....it's a bird.........  Wait a minute, come on; he can't be THAT good.

Keep in mind, that's a high school kid in that video.

 

Come on, he can't be THAT good.

Then I watched him against North Carolina in December, when he essentially took over the second half, finishing with 16 points seven assists, five rebounds and a couple of spectacular plays. And I watched the very next game as he carved up Connecticut in Madison Square Garden for 25 points, including 12 of his team’s last 15 to help Kentucky beat the highly ranked (#14 at the time) Huskies. In that game, Wall was particularly disruptive on defense, coming up with 6 steals - and generally outplaying UConn's talented Senior PG Jerome Dyson. And finally I watched as Wall sliced and diced Tennessee, leading the Wildcats on a 20-2 second half run that did in the Vols. In that game, he did whatever he wanted to do and got wherever he wanted to go on the basketball court, proving once again that, even against high quality opponents, he is the cream of the draft crop.

Yes, John Wall is that good. Superman good. Right off the bat, he's the fastest player I've ever seen. With the ball, without the ball, dribbling ... just the fastest ever, and with super-human quickness to go with it. Speedy Gonzales on a caffeine rush. To say he has a "quick" first step is an understatement ... and oh yeah, he has an incredibly explosive 43½-inch vertical leap, too. 

Now combine all those physical tools with a player that loves to pass the ball, is driven to win, has great basketball instincts, is a natural leader, has boundless energy, intensity and a terrific work ethic, and you can see why everyone thinks he is the consensus to be the number 1 pick in this year's draft.

Because he can score, and because he can seemingly score effortlessly, some might want to place the dreaded "combo" guard label on him. Some see him as eventually a shooting guard. I see Wall as a pure point guard in the mold of a Chris Paul. Like Paul, John Wall has the ability to create his own shot, but he also can create for others. He's terrific on the pick and roll play, using pinpoint passes to a rolling big for dunks, or taking it directly to the basket. He's a great finisher around the basket and draws a lot of fouls. He sees the court well, especially in fast break situations. As a matter of fact, that's where John Wall excels. In a fast paced game, he makes seemingly all the right passes and all the right plays. In the half court, some of his creativity does not come through.

Sometimes he plays a little out of control; especially driving to the basket, where he might see and beat that first defender but miss the 2nd defender. He still turns the ball over too much, especially in the half court. He has great vision, but sometimes doesn't make the right decisions with the ball. All that will improve naturally with experience.

He has nice form on his jump shot, with great elevation and a high release and consistent follow through. He makes a good percentage of his shots (50%) including 3-pointers (33%). Still, that part of his game could use a little work. He's excellent shooting from a pick and roll situation and off the dribble, but less steady on catch and shoot situations. Extending his range to the NBA 3-point line will make him just about unstoppable.

Wall is aggressive and tenacious as a defender, with terrific size, wingspan and lateral quickness. He still gets beat at times when he gets too greedy going for steals, but he projects as a lock-down defender even at the NBA level. He's a nightmare when trying to bring the ball up court, almost like a one-man trap. Not only does he pressure the ball, but he blankets his opponent on the perimeter. His length, and freakish quickness and speed allow him to cover a lot of ground. He seems to relish contesting shots, getting a fair number of blocked shots on opponents jumpers. Although he's great on-the-ball, he tends to relax on defense off the ball. Like all young players, he has a tendency to reach, and that could get him in trouble at the next level. He's also not very good at fighting through screens - another problem he'll have to address before he can be anointed a "great" defender in the NBA. But make no mistake, Wall is NO Derrick Rose. He will eventually be an elite defender in the NBA.

Strengths: 

  • Explosive athleticism
  • Practically unstoppable on drives to the basket
  • Lightning fast with the basketball
  • Natural pass first "pure" Point Guard
  • Potential to be a lock-down defender
  • Excellent on the pick-and-roll play
  • Unselfish, Coachable, high basketball IQ
  • Leadership, high motor, great work ethic
  • Ability to finish at the rim
  • Good free-throw shooter
  • Good court vision and ability to create for others

Weaknesses:

  • Turnovers
  • Out of control at times
  • Catch and shoot jumper

Fit for the Wizards: who cares if he "fits." If they have the chance to draft Wall, they should JUMP on it.

Just like most of the other Lottery teams (Utah, New Jersey, Minnesota), the Wizards already have a starting point guard in Gilbert Arenas. I think it's a fair assumption that Arenas will be back with the team next year. That being said, you cannot pass over the chance of drafting Wall just because there's already a PG on the team. If the Wizards (or any other Lottery teams with established Point Guards on the roster) are lucky enough to get the number 1 pick, they should pick the best player - and Wall is the best player by a wide margin.

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