As of last week, Wall was reportedly undecided on whether he should join, even though Team USA was making it a mandatory session for anyone interested in playing in the 2016 Olympics. Wall never said specifically what it was that was giving him pause on whether or not to attend, but it's not hard to put together a list of reasons why Wall would think twice about committing to Team USA this summer:
- As Paul George and now Dante Exum have reminded us recently, you don't get a free pass from injury just because you're playing for your country.
- There have long been whispers about Nike's influence over Team USA, since they're the uniform supplier for the team. We're not saying Phil Knight would make a call to team headquarters to ensure a Nike endorser gets a roster spot over John Wall, but at the same time, it certainly doesn't help his chances.
- As long as Mike Krzyzewski is in charge of Team USA, Wall will always face an uphill battle to make the roster. Team USA has plenty of excellent options at point guard, and if push comes to shove, you know he's going to go for his former pupil from Duke, Kyrie Irving (just ask Mason Plumlee and DeMarcus Cousins).
All that said, Wall is making the right decision. To understand why, indulge me as I make an analogy.
If we treated moving up the ranks of the NBA like we treat moving up the corporate ladder, Wall is at the point in his career where he's proven himself as an excellent executive for an exciting, young company. But now he has to find a way to turn his company into the next titan of industry. In order to make that move, Wall either has to create some buzz by making a strong impressions at conferences where people are paying attention or he needs to start networking with high-profile investors (perhaps ones who recently invested in Tiger Beat magazine) who can help take Wall's company to the top.
At Team USA minicamp, Wall has an opportunity to do both of those things. By attending he's able to keep a high profile and interact with some of the NBA's best players at the same time. It won't be easy to convince Team USA brass he's worth a spot on the Olympic team, but he can still win the hearts and minds of his teammates in the process and possibly convince them he'd make a great teammate on the NBA level. If nothing else, he can keep a lesser player from making a surge up the rankings because they're there soaking up the attention and playing time Wall left on the table.
To take the Wizards to top, Wall needs to be treated and respected like a true star. In order to do that, he has to be where the true stars are and do what the true stars do. Participating with Team USA, even with its pitfalls, is necessary to help boost the Wizards' profile and take them to the next level.