April 21, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) dunks over Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
It is fair to say that one of things that isn't valued very highly on BulletsForever is the dissection of body language. After all, Brendan Haywood always had terrible body language, but the stats demonstrated that he was a decent center during his time in Washington. By contrast, Etan Thomas, who always appeared that he cared more than Haywood, graded out at a significantly lower when one judged contributions on the court. From a distance, its hard to parse body language. Did Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee not really care about results, or were we hyperanalyzing Blatche's propensity to look discouraged or McGee's seemingly false bravado? The answer lies somewhere in between. Neither player ever "dogged it" to the degree we might want to accuse them of, yet neither ever demonstrated the total investment in the game that wins fans over and silences critics.
However, one thing you can't hide on the court is joy.
In the two years I have been covering the Wizards, I haven't seen John Wall smile as much as he did tonight since he banked that three pointer to shift the momentum in the game last year against the Celtics. Yet the way Wall played tonight and fed off his teammates is a reminder of why the Wizards have invested so much in the second year PG. Wall was phenomenal tonight and more to the point he looked happy, as players executed on the plays he initiated and the Wizards seized control of the game over to Cavs to never look back and win their fifth straight game.
So maybe I overrate happiness, but since the Nene trade, John Wall has looked more like the #1 pick in the draft of a franchise that is on its way up and less like a man who is playing out his time in purgatory. Maybe it was the emergence of the MBP or the acquisition of Nene that has brought about the more positive John Wall. Possibly, it could be the addition of former Wizards castoffs James Singleton and Cartier Martin who have brought a professionalism and desperation to the team that has been sorely lacking. Whatever the reason is -- our foundation stone looks happy, and on closing note of a shortened season, that is good enough for me.