If there's one thing we can take away from yesterday's Wizards preseason loss to the Knicks, it's that John Wall is pretty much unstoppable in the open court. Granted, it's the Knicks, who don't exactly defend in transition well, but it was truly breathtaking. Afterwards, Flip Saunders had some pretty incredible things to say about Wall, as usual.
Coach Flip Saunders has watched the No. 1 overall pick play six preseason games, enough time for him to determine that there probably isn't a faster player with the ball in the league. "I don't think so," Saunders said. "No."
When you combine his speed with his ability to finish and draw fouls, it's a pretty incredible package. I thought about this for a bit on Twitter, but who in the NBA is more unstoppable in the open court right now than Wall? I'll give you LeBron James, and there's also Dwyane Wade, but beyond that? I can't think of anyone better. Wall finishes better than Derrick Rose, dribbles better than Kevin Durant, is faster than Steve Nash and passes better than Tyreke Evans. He very well might be number three on that list.
Clearly, getting John Wall in the open floor has to be a priority for this team. The question is, how? This is purely subjective, but to me, it seems like you need the following elements:
- A good defense that forces misses relatively frequently without fouling too much and slowing the game down.
- Big men who can grab defensive rebounds and outlet quickly.
- Big men who can, in turn, run the floor.
- Wing players who are dangerous spotting up for three-pointers, which gives Wall more space.
- One or two athletic finishers that are smart at running their lanes.