April 9, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) drives to the basket and scores during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE
I wrote a feature on the mothership today about the emergence of Goran Dragic of the Houston Rockets and the lessons it teaches us about player development. The thesis: players don't develop at steady rates; they instead go through periods of success and failure as they learn how to handle additional responsibility and different defensive coverages.
Derrick Rose is now a reigning MVP, but we forget how much he struggled during the first half of his second season. He had to learn that there's no need to always rely on acrobatic layups when he's strong enough to just power through help defenders at the rim. John Wall played through pain and a horrible team to have a good rookie year last season, but instead of breaking out this year, he's been inconsistent as he tries to figure out how to impact games when teams play five feet off him because of his poor jump shot. Will Wall develop like Rose did? It depends on how he grows from his own shortcomings.
I put this here to try to clarify the point a bit. As fans, I think we understandably overreact to a bad game or stretch by Wall. Since there's so much at stake with his development, we forget that his potential rise to superstardom always will be met by some forks in the road. He came into the NBA with a major weakness and trying to fix that weakness takes time.
On the other hand, for Wall to improve, he must take what he has learned this season and apply himself this summer to get better. We've seen so many examples of players experiencing failure, learning why the failure occurred and flourishing the next year once the adjustments are made. Still, the adjustments must be made, and that's on Wall to do.
All this is to say that the book on John Wall isn't even close to being written. He's just experienced a roadblock that a lot of young talents experience. It's on him now to adjust.