In case you missed it, State Farm Insurance released a new commercial on Christmas Day to highlight the team members of the company's elite "National Bureau of Assists" organization. As you might expect, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and his "twin brother," State Farm agent Cliff Paul are the flagship members on the team. You can watch the commercial in the embed above from State Farm's YouTube channel.
In the commercial, the other four members were revealed. Here they are from a tweet by a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer's daughter:
Dad with the Selfie #DonStockton #BornToAssist pic.twitter.com/PQcpXTWgu5— Lindsay Stockton (@lstockton11) December 25, 2014
John Stockton, the NBA's All-Time career leader in assists is at the front and took the selfie. Behind him are Sue Bird of the WNBA's Seattle Storm and Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers. Stephen Curry of the Warriors and Chris Paul are in the back row. Overall, this is a nice roster of franchise point guards. Except that there's one guy who I think was more than deserving:
WHERE'S JOHN WALL!?
As Wizards fans, we have to question his omission from being part of this elite group! Wall is second in the NBA for assists a game this season (10.5), leads the NBA in total assists (293), AND the team he's on is playing better than it has ever been since many, if not most of us were born. What can we do about it?
That gives me an idea. Let's see if there is a member on the National Bureau of Assists who Wall can replace. In order to make a decision, let's go through the five current members and see how they are against him.
John Stockton (Twin: Don Stockton)
When I saw Stockton in the commercial, I thought he was a Secret Service Agent at first. This is because of his pair of shades, but I digress.
When the twin brother of the NBA's all-time leading assister by a WIDE margin is the Chief Assist Officer of the Bureau, he deserves to be on this bureau more than anyone, end of story.
Sue Bird (Twin: Summer Bird)
Regarded by many as the WNBA's best all-around point guard of all time, the 13-year veteran is a must keep. I know Bird's career assist per game average of 5.4 is pedestrian compared with Wall's average of 8.5 assists per game, but we have to consider the fact that they don't play in the same league. Top assisters in the WNBA average around 6 per game any given season, just so you know.
Let's compare Bird to her WNBA peers. When it comes to assists, she has 2,068 for her career, which is second all-time in the WNBA. She has a shot to overtake Ticha Penicheiro's record of 2,599 if she can play another three or four years without injury. And like the other players on this list, Bird is a good scorer too. She is currently 6th in three pointers made (639) and 14th in career scoring (4,809). I expect her to inch up the rankings there as well.
Before you start thinking that Bird is an easy weak link due to simple assist stats, here's one accomplishment that Bird has which neither Wall or the other members of the National Bureau of Assists have: championship rings. Bird won two WNBA titles with the Storm in 2004 and 2010. She is also the starting point guard for the USA Basketball women's national team since the 2006 FIBA World Championships, where she won two of her three Olympic gold medals in that capacity. None of these other guys or Wall have won multiple medals themselves.
Therefore, Bird is the most accomplished assister in the Bureau when it comes to winning! So she's not the weak link.
For more on this commercial and Bird specifically, I wrote another post at Swish Appeal where I kept the Wall bias out.
Chris Paul (Twin: Cliff Paul)
Given how badly Wall schooled Paul when the Wizards played the Clippers earlier this month, should he replace the man who many, if not most believe is the NBA's best point guard -- and the original star of this State Farm "Born to Assist" campaign?
Not a chance!
Paul has averaged over 10 assists per game in four out of his first nine seasons in the NBA. On the defensive end, Paul led the league in steals six out of the last eight years. I do think that Wall will be a better point guard than Paul very soon, possibly even this year. But Paul is more than deserving of being on the Bureau, even if he wasn't the first point guard to have commercials for the "Born to Assist" campaign.
Stephen Curry (Twin: Sebastian Curry)
Curry has a career average of 6.8 assists per game. However, he averaged 8.5 assists per game in the 2013-14 season, and is averaging 7.7 per game this season. Those numbers are lower than Wall's, but they aren't as low as the next member of this group.
Ultimately, Curry is not the weak link with the Bureau, so he stays. But that said, this snapshot of him won't please Wizards fans:
Really? Stephen Curry is "The Professor?" The NBA already has one, thank you very much!
Curry's not even 27 yet, so I wonder how he got this title. I'd understand if State Farm called Sue Bird "The Professor" since she is the oldest active player (she's 34-years old) in the National Bureau of Assists. But either way, that just added some fuel to the fire for the Wizards-Warriors game on February 24, 2015.
Now that I got that out of the way, let's get to
Damian Lillard (Twin: Darius Lillard)
When you look as disinterested as Lillard was when he threw the lifesaver behind his back to the guy on the boat, that's a red flag for the Bureau.
When you average the least number of assists for your career like Lillard (6.1 per game) compared to the other NBA players on this list, that's another red flag for the Bureau.
And remember when I said that you can't simply judge NBA and WNBA assist numbers in and of itself when comparing Wall's and Bird's career averages? This is yet another red flag. It just so happens that Bird has a higher career assist percentage (31.5 percent) than Lillard (27.3 percent). Wall's career average? 39.6 percent.
And if you're wondering what Stockton's career assist percentage was, it was 50.2 percent! No wonder why he's the Chief Assist Officer.
Conclusion: John Wall should replace Damian Lillard on State Farm's National Bureau of Assists
Lillard is the weakest link among the players in State Farm's National Bureau of Assists, where he is behind the rest of his peers in a number of metrics. John Wall and his long-lost twin would be a great addition to this already strong group of assisters on the basketball court, and in the insurance office.
Who should John Wall replace to be on State Farm's "National Bureau of Assists?"
This poll is closed
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers