WASHINGTON -- Count Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart as one person who thinks John Wall's stress injury will ultimately be beneficial to his long-term development. Here's his response when I asked him what he's noticed about Wall that's different from his first two years in the league.
"Sometimes when you get hurt you concentrate on other parts of your game. Before, he just used all of his blazing speed, try to beat people with his speed. He never relied on his jump-shooting or anything else, or just trying to think the game from a true point guard perspective. I think when you get hurt, you can't run right now, so you become a student. It slows you down and starts getting you to understand how to play the game from a mental standpoint."
"Not that he wasn't before, but now he was forced to do that. Coming back from rehab, doing light practicing, he didn't have all he had. Now, the game becomes a thinking game. When that happens, it opens the door for a big jump with him coming back. ... He can undersand how to really be a point guard."
"I'm sure Sam Cassell is thinking, 'Finally! Something got your attention.' [He] can now focus on running a basketball team and not just using [his] speed to run by people all the time."
Game thread on the way...