Before we get into what John Feinstein said Wednesday, there are a few things I should make clear with everyone:
- John Feinstein is an accomplished author whose worst work beats anything I've ever written. Additionally, he probably remembers the day of the week better than I do.
- Everyone has silly opinions on things from time to time. Occasionally we double-down on these opinions and make ourselves look sillier. This is what makes us human.
- As much as opinions like this enrage me, I still find him interesting to listen to, which is part of what upsets me most about this stuff.
Grant Paulsen: The Wizards are 14-6, John Wall the other night, with 26 points and 17 assists, I want to take your temperature on Wall now if I could now John. You've always been a guy who's kinda making him earn everything, not giving him anything.
John Feinstein: Yep.
Paulsen: Where are you at on John Wall right now?
Feinstein: Well, he's having his best year, there is no question he is improved. I still think Bradley Beal is their best player.
Look, it's one thing if you think that scoring points is the most valuable asset in the NBA, because if so, Beal is more valuable than Wall. I might not agree with that logic, but I get it and so I won't waste pixels arguing about it. But here's the thing: Wall has been a much better scorer than Beal this year. Not only is he scoring four full more points per game than Beal, but he has a higher field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. Sure, Beal still has the edge on outside shooting, but Wall is still putting up points, and he's doing it while averaging more 10 assists, nearly five rebounds and two steals per game. If he keeps those numbers up for the rest of the season, he'd be only the second player in NBA history to put up those numbers.
After he threw in his two cents on Wall's spot in the Wizards' hierarchy, Feinstein did have some nice things to say about Wall, but of course, had to balance things out with some negativity - because someone has to do it.
Feinstein: He had a great night the other night and the story about the six year old girl he was so close to who passed away is very touching in every possible way.
I still want to see how he shoots the ball under pressure against good teams. Remember, the Wizards haven't played a lot of games against the top teams, who are basically all in the West. They're beating the bad teams, and that's good and that's an improvement. But I still want to see what John Wall does against good teams in the regular season and in crunch time in the playoffs.
Hey, that's fair. We're excited to see how John Wall does against Chris Paul on Friday night. But from the sounds of things, it doesn't look like anything that happens Friday will change some people's perceptions.
Feinstein: I think he's improved his game, he's in his fifth year now, he should improve his game, he's a very good player. I'm not yet ready to, you know, put him in a class with Chris Paul or any of the best point guards in the league.
Paulsen: You don't think he's a top five point guard in the NBA right now?
Feinstein: I'd have to sit down and make a list, Danny, honestly. You know, this time of year, my mind isn't geared to the NBA, he might be in the top five, but I'm just not sure.