The key to the Wizards season is NOT Gilbert Arenas. The team's playoff chances are indeed riding on our best player's ability to stay healthy and return to form. We all know, however, that the this year should not be strictly defined by wins and losses, but rather how it sets the young team up for the future. A playoff (re?)birth would be amazing, but John Wall is unquestionably our most important player this season.
There is a thin line between being good enough to lead a championship contender, and 'merely' being an All-star caliber player who can play a significant role on a championship team. Andre Iguodala, for instance, is a great player but will never lead a team to a title. The Wizards need Wall to be great, not just good. Wall does not have to be great this season (although he can still keep the Great Wall nickname), but his immediate performance and development in year 1 has major implications for this franchise.
So what do we have here? Evans is the pure scorer, Conley the passer, and Holiday was raw in his 1 collegiate season, but Wall lines up pretty well with Derrick Rose, although Rose had the better collegiate season. Rose is the guy who also seems most comparable to my hawk eyes due his athleticism and style. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was hoping for Wall's numbers to obliterate all the others, and my personal take before seeing the data is that Wall is Derrick Rose with more upside and defense. The bright side is that Rose is on the cusp of superstardom.
Now let's look at at the pace adjusted per 40 rookie stats for these players to check the trends in their numbers making the jump to the NBA:
A small sample size, but the trend in the numbers is pretty consistent for all players, so it seems pretty safe to compare the Great Wall to Derrick Rose. It is unclear exactly how many mpg Wall will earn and what the Wizards pace will be with so much roster overturn, so let's use Rose's raw rookie performance as a jumping off point:
37 mpg, 16.8 ppg, 47.5 fg%, 3.9 rpg, 6.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.5 TOs
Using 37 mpg and average pace, Wall's line should then look something like (just estimating from the above numbers):
37 mpg, 16.2 ppg, 46.0 fg%, 2.9rpg, 7.6 apg, 1.2 spg, 3.4 TOs
Now these numbers do not take into account the unique situation Wall is entering as a highly touted player joining a lineup of high usage players that will likely depress his scoring figure. Either way, I'm pretty excited about that line! 7.6 apg would have placed Wall at #9 in the league last year, but what excites me the most is the cut in TO rate. Wall's aggressive style lends itself to TOs, but the fact that Rose cut his TO rate from college to the pros is incredible and something we can only hope the Great Wall can emulate.
In the bigger picture, it looks like we have a more passing-oriented and better defensive version of Derrick Rose on our hands (but not necessarily the better prospect/player based on this tiny sample). Is that the superstar we need? Rose is great and took a big step towards becoming a superstar in his 2nd season, which bodes extremely well for our #1 pick. John Wall's performance in year 1 will tell us more clearly whether he is on a similar track.