If you've followed the Washington Wizards and John Wall for any amount of time, you know that John Feinstein is no fan of John Wall. In 2012, he said that if he was in charge of the Washington Wizards, he would have traded John Wall so he could acquire a pick so he could draft Kendall Marshall. The same Kendall Marshall who was traded twice before his second season (once by the Wizards, who saw Eric Maynor as a better fit) and is currently riding the pine for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, Feinstein was at the Wizards' home opener on Saturday against the Bucks, and had this to say about Wall's performance.
John Wall, who entered the arena giving the Johnny Manziel "money fingers," was schooled for much of the evening by Brandon Knight, who finished with 24 points and six assists, blowing by Wall early and often. Wall ended up with deceptively decent numbers but was outplayed by the man who succeeded him as Kentucky's point guard.
Yikes. You knew that paragraph was going to be bad when he started comparing Wall to Johnny Manziel. Anytime a sports columnist compares someone to Johnny Manziel, you know it's going to lead to some bad sports thoughts. Let's break it down piece by piece.
John Wall was schooled for much of the evening by Brandon Knight, who finished with 24 points and six assists, blowing by Wall early and often.
Sure, Knight did get past a Wall a few times. That's how things tend to go in the NBA now that hand-checking is no longer part of the game. You just have to stop what you can sometimes, and when you can't, you find yourself out of the league.
So, let's say when a certain point guard is on the court the team gives up 112 points per 100 possessions, that would be pretty bad, right? That's probably why Kendall Marshall is on the bench in Milwaukee. When that number is closer to 105, like Wall's was last season (and 2.5 points better than when he was off the court) then you're probably doing a decent job sometimes.
We'll be the first to admit Wall still has areas to grow defensively, but hey, so does everyone else in the NBA.
Wall ended up with deceptively decent numbers
19 points on 14 shots, 10 assists, six rebounds and five steals IS deceptively decent. It's so deceptive that if you just glance at it, you might even think it was almost good!
And yes, we notice that you're implying that Wall padded his numbers late in the game. Thing is, he sat out almost six full minutes of the fourth quarter. When he rejoined the action, he scored six points and got three assists. Maybe he was thinking of the third quarter, when Wall had nine points, three assists and four steals.
but was outplayed by the man who succeeded him as Kentucky's point guard.
The Wizards outscored the Bucks by 25 when Wall was on the court, and the Bucks were outscored by 11 when Knight was on the court.
Anyways, let's get to what Feinstein had to say about where Wall sits on the Wizards' hierarchy. Friday, Feinstein shared his thoughts about the team in his weekly segment with The Sports Junkies, on 106.7 The Fan. You can listen to the audio for yourself here:
Cakes: Johh Wall has been amazing.
Feinstein: Really, has he been amazing? How's his defense been?
Cakes: Okay, I'm just going by his offensive stats.
Feinstein: Oh, okay, we don't play defense anymore in the NBA.
Cakes: I love what John Wall has done, and I'm not going to let you rain on my John Wall parade.
Feinstein: I'm sorry, I was at the game Saturday night, unfortunately, and Brandon Knight kicked his butt. Made him look bad. You know, Wall ended up, you know, the Bucks are terrible, the fourth quarter was basically up and down with nobody playing defense, so Wall padded his numbers.
He had good numbers the other night, I know that. What did he have, 31 and 10? I think they keep assists at the Verizon Center the same way Dean Smith used to keep things. They give two on every basket. But, he got killed on defense again by a guy I've never heard of!
John Wall is a very good player. The best players on the Washington Wizards, in my opinion, are Bradley Beal and Gortat and Nene.
Let's make that last sentence bigger so it's easier for you to copy and paste and share with your friends for the next few years.
John Feinstein: "The best players on the Washington Wizards, in my opinion, are Bradley Beal and Gortat and Nene."
If John Wall, who is currently averaging 21.4 points, 10 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game, SOMETHING NO ONE HAS EVER DONE FOR A SEASON, is the Wizards' fourth-best player, we should hope and pray at least one of the three players ahead of him stays injured the rest of the season, otherwise the Wizards will make the playoffs an afterthought and Kevin Durant will be too worried about getting playing time to consider coming back to Washington.
Also, John Wall has averaged 8.3 assists per game over his career on the road, the same number of assists per game he averages at home. Those Dean Smith assists are catching on everywhere.