We've heard a lot of fans, as well as former coach Flip Saunders, suggest that John Wall's inconsistent play this year is due to playing in too many charity games. I've always been careful to embrace this line of thinking, because playing in charity games and getting better as a player are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Kevin Durant played in a lot of charity games, and he's improved tremendously this year.
However, I might change my tune now, because Wall himself admitted the charity games hurt his development. Speaking to out-of-town reporters after Monday's win over the Chicago Bulls, Wall said that, if he could do it over again, he'd spend more time working out and less time playing in these games.
(Fast-forward to the 1:05 mark of this Wizards.com video)
QUESTION: Did you feel like you were at a disadvantage this year? Nobody had a summer, nobody had much of a training camp, but for a younger player, that would seem to be pretty important.
ANSWER: No ... I didn't think I had a disadvantage. I just think that, instead of working out more, I did more of playing in charity events and summer leagues, when I should have been working out more. That's the only thing I think I should have done differently, but it was a great experience going to different states and venues.
The whole interview is filled with personal reflection on his season and what he and the team needs to do better. It's worth checking out.
Obviously, it's disappointing that Wall didn't supplement his summer-league experience with more gym work, but the good news is that he now knows the effect of that decision. Hopefully, it'll help fuel him to be smarter with his summer work this time around.