Right now the start of the NBA season is kind of like waiting for childbirth...nobody knows exactly when, but it's definitely happening soon. Probably. I've restrained myself from openly salivating over John Wall's pro-am summer performances. The season appears to offically have entered labor which coincides with the end of my responsible demeanor.
How many times did you read some variation of 'the only thing holding John Wall back is the lack of a jump shot' as last season went on? With the news that both sides are burning the proverbial midnight oil, the theme song from Flash Gordon has been building in the back of my mind with the mad joy only Queen commands. Don't look now, John Wall is traveling at the speed of light, and he's gonna make a supersonic man outta you. But can any breakout PG, no matter how dominant, overshadow the excitement the emergence of a once-in-a-generation big man like Blake Griffin demands?
It's impossible to consider the question without considering the field. There hasn't been such an explosively dominating offensive phenom at power forward since Amare Stoudemire. Even so, Griffin's performances are redefining 'thunderous'. The league is replete with star point men, I won't bore you with the list. How does John get separation from the pack at his position to the point where 'transcendental' gets used to describe him more than 'mercurial' is used to characterize Gilbert Arenas?
Last year's issue of remaining under control while in seventh gear remains. Being back at 100% means I'm not particularly worried on this score as I might be. Having maximum acceleration back means having maximum deceleration back (maximum negative acceleration for you physics whistleblowers out there). Being able to plant at full bore is going to create new headaches for the Tyson Chandlers of the NBA.
It's going to take performances like Lebron James going one-on-five in the Eastern Conference Finals, scoring or assisting 32 of 34 points scored in the Cavaliers 4th quarter. There were plenty of times last season when the Wizards couldn't buy or beg a bucket. We saw Jordan Crawford stepping up like a man on the offensive end, Trevor Booker and Othyus Jeffers laying the defensive wood on opposing teams, or Nick Young's unconscious shooting, but teams that were already cheating simply dared John to shoot and usually came out ahead. This year when the game is on line against the Boston Celtics, John's game winner won't surprise him.
To answer my titular question, John will probably need to average a 20/10/5, be unstoppable in the clutch, and he'll need his teammates. That's part of the challenge being the conductor instead of the percussion. But this is a question that will bear much more attention as the season finally gets rolling. Oh, and he'll need the guard equivalent of posterization, known as 'breaking the ankles' to be a regular event. Here's to 'lockout, we hardly knew ye' and John Wall, savior of the DC basketball universe.