Amin Elhassen of ESPN Insider makes a pretty bold claim: John Wall is the second-most important point guard in the league, relative to his own team. Here's the blurb:
While Derrick Rose takes Chicago from good to elite, Wall has shown this season that he can take abysmal to playoff-level production. Since Jan. 12 (Wall's first game back), the Wizards have the second-best defensive efficiency in the league (96.8), and have gone from minus-7.3 point differential to plus-2.8 (11th in NBA in that span).
The Wizards' record with Wall has been a solid 15-13; without him, they were hurtling toward a worst-in-league record at 5-28. Wall's breathtaking athleticism, particularly in the open court, allows him to get into the paint repeatedly and wreak havoc by converting at the rim or finding teammates. But Wall's impact is greater felt on the defensive end, where his length and agility allow him to be a versatile defender on the perimeter. Going into a contract extension summer, Wall's agent will have a large amount of data to point to as evidence that his client is pivotal to success in Washington.
It's true that the Wizards have been much better since Wall returned from injury, but I think Elhassen is blending correlation with causation with some of these numbers. Other players have improved dramatically, namely Bradley Beal, and suggesting Wall is responsible for all of that is misleading.
Also, I'm not sure I can buy an opinion that suggests Wall is a good perimeter defender. Good defensive tools? Yes, but as we've seen several times, that hasn't often translated to good on-ball defense.
Nevertheless, good to see some positive pixels.