After a blazing hot start to the season, the Wizards struggles might be dimming John Wall's reputation around the league just a little bit.
ESPN recently asked 25 players, coaches and executives to rank the NBA's 30 best point guards for ESPN Insider. Wall came in sixth in the rankings, behind Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.
Sixth might seem a bit harsh, but honestly, there's not a lot to be upset about here. Most of us can agree Westbrook, Curry and Paul are the class of the NBA at the position. Who you rank at the top of the list largely comes down to what you prefer in a point guard. The same can be said for the second-tier of point guards, where you find Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and John Wall. If ESPN had rounded up 25 different people who valued defense and passing more, the rankings could have easily flipped. We get that, and have no problem with it.
What we would like to whack at is this bloated piñata of a take from an anonymous NBA assistant coach ESPN used in their piece:
6. John Wall, Washington Wizards (595 points) "He has incredible speed, and is one of the top two or three in getting the ball up and down the floor. His big question mark is in the fourth quarter, game on the line -- whether he can get you a bucket when it's not a transition push. To his credit, he's shown he can get shots for others. That's an area he's really worked on."
"His big question mark is in the fourth quarter, game on the line -- whether he can get you a bucket when it's not a transition push."
John Wall has answered that question quite emphatically this season. Only four players in the NBA have scored more points in clutch situations - defined as the last five minutes of games where the score is within five points - than John Wall this season. He's second in the NBA in total assists in those situations.
"To his credit, he's shown he can get shots for others. That's an area he's really worked on."
Yes, Wall has developed as a passer since he came into the NBA, but let's please stop treating him like he came into the NBA firing away like Lillard or Irving. In John Wall's rookie season, playing alongside guys like Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Yi Jianlian, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford, Wall assisted on 36 percent of the shots his teammates took. That's a higher percentage than well-established veterans like Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Tony Parker and LeBron James averaged that season. So yes, Wall has improved, but he was already one of the league's best the moment he stepped on the floor for the first time in the NBA.
When you see opinions like this, it should just go to show that people see what they want to see and like what they want to like, irrespective of what's actually unfolding in front of their eyes, regardless of whether you're a key decision maker in the NBA or a just another person on the internet look for things to talk about.