Great, just what we need: more reasons to compare John Wall to Kyrie Irving.
Team USA is scrimmaging each other on cable television tonight (9 p.m., ESPN) and it's expected that the roster will be cut down from 19 to 15 at some point soon thereafter. The Wizards, of course, have two of those 19 players: Wall and Bradley Beal. Both face steep odds to make the final 12-man roster because there's tons of competition.
That's particularly true for Wall because the point guard position is deep. It sounds like Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry are in, leaving Wall, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard to compete for a spot on the team. Lillard is being seen as more of a 2, which means ... KYRIE OR WALL KYRIE OR WALL.
From NBA.com's John Schuhmann:
So it seems clear that one roster spot will come down to Irving vs. Wall. Irving is the more dynamic one-on-one player, but Wall is the better passer and defender.
Also, while Irving (35.8 percent) was a slightly better 3-point shooter than Wall (35.1 percent) overall last season, Wall was much better on catch-and-shoot opportunities. Wall had a 3-point percentage of 43.1 percent and an effective field-goal percentage of 60.8 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, while Irving's numbers were just 32.1 percent and 46.0 percent. Opponents will pack the paint and hope the U.S. Team is having an off night from the perimeter, so catch-and-shoot skills should be more important than pull-up skills with this team.
PREACH! TELL 'EM JOHN!
This'll be interesting. Even despite those spot-up numbers, Irving is probably the better shooter than Wall. Irving can maybe also swing off the ball a little more easily, which maybe makes it easier to use him with more combinations of players. Ohbytheway, he went to Duke, much like another longshot that could somehow beat out a different Kentucky guy for a roster spot.
But it's also true that Wall, if he devotes himself this way, is the kind of defensive pest and tempo-changer that Team USA doesn't otherwise have. Irving, Lillard and Curry are much more similar players and Rose is a complete blank slate. Wall is different.
Will that matter? We'll find out soon.