We already know how John Wall feels. Ask him where he ranks among the NBA's hierarchy of point guards, and he'll tell you he's at the top, and really, what else is he supposed to say? That kind of confidence and self-belief is what you want to hear from a franchise player, even if it is a bit boastful coming from someone who's never made an All-Star team, let alone an All-NBA team.
Wall professed as much again recently to CSN Washington's Chris Miller following his third straight game with 30-plus points in Tuesday's 116-111 home win against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"What statement are trying to make to the league right now?" Miller asked. Wall didn't hesitate with an answer.
"The best point guard in the league. That's my statement." Pretty definitive, eh?
Of course, this got the internet's attention, and the reaction was pretty much the same as it has been in the past: It's good Wall believes he's the best, even if it isn't true. Wall of course has the misfotune of playing at the same time as arguably the greatest point guard in league history (don't kill me, people are actually beginning to debate whether Chris Paul has eclipsed Magic Johnson as the G(PG)OAT).
And forget whether he's the league's best, Wall hasn't even been good enough to make an Eastern Conference All Star-team yet. But with Derrick Rose set to miss another season following knee surgery and Rajon Rondo still recovering from knee surgery he had last season, NBA.com's analysts were recently tasked with naming the best of the East's remaining point guards.
If you're a Wizards fan, you'll want to read the whole thing, but if you'd like the short version, I went ahead and tallied up the votes. Because Scott Howard-Cooper cheated and picked both players, Wall finished with 8.5 votes, which Kyrie Irving tallied 1.5.
As someone who has long held the minority (and biased) view that Wall is the superior point guard to Uncle Drew (who was basically anointed the Chosen One the moment he stepped foot on an NBA court), this is particularly gratifying. Don't get me wrong; Irving is a great player, and Wall's superior when it comes to scoring and handling the basketball. But who would you rather have running point on a championship-level squad, i.e. one with two or three All Star-level players? Would you prefer a supreme facilitator who gets the most out of his teammates, or an elite scorer who dominates the ball and decides to pass if and when he gets triple teamed? Oh, and what if I told you the former is an elite athlete and profiles as the superior defender, while the latter is a step slower and might always struggle guarding the league's quickest point guards?
Sure, I'd probably take Irving first if we were playing a game of 3-on-3 pickup, but if I'm trying to build an NBA champion, I want Wall running the show.
Now, whether Wall maintains this level of play all season and finally stakes a legitimate claim as one of the league's elite floor generals remains to be seen. But for right now, go ahead and bask in the glory, Wizards fans. The day after Thanksgiving, be thankful your team has a point guard playing better than any of his conference peers.
On to the rest of today's Wrap:
- For those who missed the link up above, here's the roundtable establishing Wall as the East's (current) best point guard. [NBA.com]
- It's an easy stance to justify when Wall was just recognized as the conference's player of the week. [Wizards Insider | CSN Washington | District Sports Page | Wiz of Awes | Monumental Network | Press release]
- Could Wall end up being voted a the East's All Star starter at point guard? [CSN Washington]
- Grantland's Chris Ryan went through all 99 of the points Wall scored against the Raptors, Knicks and Lakers. This is bliss.
- Thomas thinks we've seen Wall make The Leap.
- Mike isn't sure about that, but he does like how Wall is developing as a floor general.
- Apparently I have a doppleganger in the Wall-Irving debate over at Wiz of Awes.
- Wall knows his latest stretch has people around the league talking about his development, but he also realizes that he needs to maintain his level of performance or he'll again be labeled an athletic tease. [Wizards Insider | CSN Washington]
- Wall's jumper has gotten better, but he could still stand to refine his mechanics. [Truth About It]
- Even with that improved jumper, don't expect teams to all of sudden start guarding Wall up close. [CSN Washington]
- You can count Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez among Wall's fans. [DC Sports Bog | Ted's Take]
- Washington's young backcourt of Wall and Bradley Beal represents "hope" for a franchise accustomed to despair. [Washington Times]
- The tandem tops Scoop Jackson's list of Thanksgiving reasons to be a grateful NBA fan. [ESPN]
- Yet for some baffling reason, Beal ranks only seventh on David Thorpe's ranking of NBA sophomores. I could see Beal coming in fourth after Anthony Davis -- who's an obvious choice for No. 1 on this list -- and maybe Andre Drummond and Damian Lillard. But show me one GM in the league who'd take Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones or John Henson over Beal, and I'll have someone to scratch off my list of "potential future GMs." [E$PN]
- The Wizards feel pretty good heading into tonight's road matchup with the Indiana Pacers, who at 14-1 have yet to lose at home this season. [Washington Post]
- Ted is also pleased with the way his team has played of late. [Ted's Take]
- A recap of the Wizards' week as only TAI can provide.
- The depressing news of the week was Beal coming down with another stress injury to his right leg, which will keep him out a minimum of two weeks. [BF StoryStream | Wizards Insider | CSN Washington |Truth About It | Wiz of Awes]
- Beal claims the injury isn't serious. Good thing Wizards fans have never heard that before. [BF |Wizards Insider | CSN Washington | Monumental Network]
- Having played the most minutes of anyone in the NBA, Beal was already complaining about tired legs a couple days before his injury was announced. [CSN Washington]
- Depending on the injury's severity, a quick return isn't out of the question. [CSN Washington]
- Wall for one is glad Beal is taking the time to make sure the injury doesn't worsen. [CSN Washington]
- The Wizards haven't done the greatest job drafting and developing players since their rebuild began with Wall's selection in the 2010 draft, but that may not matter if Wall continues his rise to super-stardom. [TrueHoop]
- When talking about the NBA's elite youngsters, Israel Gutierrez thinks Wall has made his way into the conversation, but Bruce Bowen still needs to see more. [ESPN Radio]
- I could watch this video of Wall's 360-dunk against the Lakers all day. The highlight reel of Nene's career-high 30 points against L.A. is pretty great, too.
- Nene said after the Lakers game that, like "wine," he feels he's getting better with age. [Wizards Insider| Truth About It | Wiz of Awes]
- Nene was happy when the Wizards traded for Marcin Gortat, thinking a slide over to power forward would mean less banging down low, and reduced wear on his historically-fragile body. Well, opponents haven't exactly let Nene off the hook. [CSN Washington]
- Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza and Chris Singleton all began practicing again this week. So far, two of those three have actually played in a game. I'd give you two guesses as to which one hasn't, but you'd only need one. [BF | Washington Post | CSN Washington | Wiz of Awes]
- Singleton credited good genes with being ready to play pretty much immediately after returning to practice. [CSN Washington]
- Al Harrington is hoping he too can return soon, and give the Wiz a much-needed scoring punch off the bench. [Wizards Insider]
- Until then, Harrington is playing the role of awesome teammate to perfection, convincing his mom to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the entire team. She even prepared a menu.
- Martell Webster and Singleton both hosted Thanksgiving events benefiting the less fortunate. [So Others Might Eat luncheon | Thanksgiving Day Assist]
- In a welcome if unexpected development, the Wizards have been getting off to some quick starts lately. [CSN Washington]
- Randy Wittman joked that his team "screwed up" by proving it could play solid defense down the stretch against the Bucks, leaving it with no further excuses for lax defensive hustle. [Wizards Insider]
- Are the Wiz finally learning how to close out games? [Wiz of Awes]
- We let all five starters into the Palace of Good Play this week, plus handed out one Guest Pass of Indifference to the lone member of the bench playing his role well.
- Awesome Q&A with Marcin Gortat. Topics covered include his assimilation into the Wizards' locker room, his aversion to working in broadcasting, and what it was like playing for Stan Van Gundy. [SB Nation]
- Gortat blamed himself for last week's loss to the Raptors. He's played pretty well since. [Wizards Insider| CSN Washington]
- He's also lived up to his billing as being particularly comfortable running the pick-and-roll. [Wiz of Awes]
- Thomas threw out a bunch of ideas to improve the Wizards' bench, which right now is the worst in the NBA.
- As if Wall wasn't having a good-enough stretch as of late, the NBA went ahead of gave him a 10th assist against the Cavaliers that was originally credited to Beal. [Wizards Insider]
- Dan Steinberg gets all deep and philosophical with Ted's dismissal of "must win" mantras. [DC Sports Bog]
- Still nothing like Photoshop Friday. [Truth About It]
- I've kind of buried the lead in today's Wrap, because without a doubt the biggest news of the week was the debut of Steve Buckhantz on Twitter. And there was much rejoicing, for no longer shall the internet be deprived of #DAGGER!!
- Wizards vs. Pacers preview: Time for a statement game?
- Magical Pixels, Wizards vs. Bucks: Thankful for some holiday venison
- Wizards vs. Bucks final score: Webster, Ariza save the day as Washington wins in OT, 100-92
- Wizards vs. Bucks: Washington make it three in a row
- Wizards vs. Bucks preview: Can Washington make it three in a row?