Sports Illustrated is ranking the top 100 players in the NBA this season and John Wall finished 13th in this year's edition, ahead of notable stars like DeMarcus Cousins and Carmelo Anthony. More importantly, he beat out Kyrie Irving (23rd) and Damian Lillard (24th), two other stars at his position who he's frequently compared to point guard debates.
Let us eat crow. We were wrong about John Wall, who came in at No. 31 on last year's list and promptly laid waste to our modest expectations. Wall matured quickly as a steward of the Wizards offense. Defensively, he evolved from a guard with great size and timing into a stout team defender capable of championing a system from within. Seasoning has brought restraint and that restraint a ticket to high-level stardom. Consider this a course correction.
Based on this year's rankings, perhaps John Wall is closer to settling the debate about the best point guard in the East than we thought. Then again, SI did say Irving's kneecap injury, which is expected to sideline him at the start of the season "cost him a few spots in this ranking."
Of course, the easiest way for Wall to distance himself from Irving would be to force his way into the conversation with the three point guards who rank ahead of Wall in this year's rankings: Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. If Wall can wedge his way into that conversation by the end of the season, he won't have to worry about his status in the Eastern Conference.
Wall wasn't the only Wizard to crack SI's Top 100 rankings this season. Marcin Gortat ranked 63rd and Bradley Beal ranked 62nd. For Gortat, it was a slight drop after ranking 58th last season, and a big jump up for Beal who was 76th in last year's rankings.