Framing the conversation: John Wall's contract extension in the supporting cast era

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Sports are supposed to (comparatively) fair and a player, especially a rookie, who gets dealt a poor hand receives plenty of slack. The Wizards are finally playing with a full deck, and the pressure is on for John Wall.

John Wall has had it tough in DC. Given the title of 'Game-changer' upon his arrival, it would be all too familiar a story if Wall cracked under expectations he couldn't possibly shoulder in the absence of a legitimate supporting cast. Fortunately, Wall is made of sterner stuff. While the lack of reliable, all-around players around him hasn't done his development any favors, it has bought him a pass from much of the pressure of being a No. 1 pick. That's no small blessing.

On a better team, the question of shooting outside of the restricted area would probably be all anyone could talk about. While the lamentable reality of his percentages beyond a few feet isn't widely celebrated or seen as little cause for concern, Ted Leonsis' message of patience to the fanbase seems to have sunk in. However, this season represents the likely final calm before the storm.

The supporting cast has coalesced and Bradley Beal looks like the real deal. Provided Wall can elevate his shot percentages past a few feet to 'below-average', fans will be content. Barring an early extension, that changes in the 2013/14 season when it comes time to debate his contract. The supermax is probably not going to generate much conversation. What will is his value to the franchise versus his value as a player. There will be comparisons of statistical production of like players and their deals, a mixture of quantitative and qualitative rebuttals. The five-year standard max seems only natural but will probably raise hell from the stat-minded.

It's still a ways off, but every serious Wizards fan is keeping John Wall's upcoming contract in mind. With a supporting cast and Beal's Robin to Wall's Batman, this season represents a legitimate beginning to that discussion. An early five-year normal max extension wouldn't surprise anyone and would be slightly (and reassuringly) anti-climactic, but it isn't like this front-office hasn't surprised fans before (in unenthusing fashion). Wall's 2012/13 campaign will be getting a late start and everyone from fans to sports media to the franchise itself will be watching with bated breath. Everyone knows how special this kid is and wants him to succeed. Will he? Stay tuned.

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