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The Curious Case of John Wall

Matthew Corgnati, Business Manager/ Staff Writer

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“With the first pick of the 2010 NBA draft the Washington Wizards select, John Wall from the University of Kentucky” This announcement was music to the ears of every Washington sports fan. After years of disappointment and underachieving seasons the fans of Washington finally had hope. A college basketball superstar who was destined for greatness was headed to the nation’s capital. Wall was viewed as the savior of the Wizards and of people who desperately needed someone to look up to and lead them to greatness.

The young guard took the college basketball world by storm with a Kentucky team that included future NBA star Demarcus Cousins that lit up the league. Wall was a breakout star in college as non only a traditional point guard, but a scoring guard that could take over a basketball game in crunch time. It made him one the most sought after guards to come out of the draft in 10 years. Wall possessed an ability to lit up a game and cause matchup problems for any guard in the league. But with all that talent, Wall was still raw. His game still lacked in some key areas. Wall struggled mightily shooting
from deep and could often get careless and throw passes or try to split a double team that would lead to an eventual turnover. But despite some of the downsides to Wall’s game his future was still impeccably bright. The only issue looked not to be with Wall himself, but with the organization he was joining. Despite having past stars such as an out of his prime Michael Jordan and “Agent Zero”, Gilbert Arenas who turned out to be a head-case; it was still the Wizards. The Washington Wizards have not featured in an NBA final since 1978. John Wall was not set to walk into the organization, take over the league, and win a NBA championship in the first 5 seasons. It was always going to be a process with Wall as the centerpiece to rebuild a team and D.C. as a city. During John Wall’s rookie season his teammates featured the likes of Nick Young and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKsCaRVtVJc
Young Hoops

McGee. It would be an understatement to say that John Wall’s rookie season with the Wizards would not be a walk in the park.

John Wall had a rookie season that would not soon be forgotten as the guard took the league by storm, averaging 16.4 points a game along with 8.3 assists and 1.8 steals. These were big numbers from a rookie that only spent one year at Kentucky and was a highly inexperienced and unproven talent. Despite all of Walls efforts, the Wizards finished the season with a 23-59 record. Not good. As he had known since the day he was drafted to Washington, this would be a process. But, as the Wizards are in fact a Washington D.C. sports franchise, the off season would kill the Wizards 2011-2012 season.
They made no major moves to bring Wall any help other than off loading former all-star Gilbert Arenas. John Wall was set for another extremely long
season and it went just as everyone expected. Another disappointing year saw a rising star in John Wall be dragged down by subpar teammates and coaching. Yet again the front office was offering Wall absolutely no help in bringing th
e missing piece of the puzzle to D.C. There was one shining moment of the off season leading up to the 2012-2013 season. The Washington Wizards selected a young guard from The University of Florida by the name of Bradley Beal. When the city of D.C. began to question how far Wall could take them and if he was really the piece to build around, Beal entered the league and averaged 13.9 points a game. Beal was the scoring option the Wall had desperately needed to take some of the weight off of his shoulders. [

 

Than the 2013-2014 season rolled around and saw a 3rd year player in Wall and Beal coming off a rookie season something unexpected happened. Wall put up 19.3 points a game to go along with 8.8 assists along with Beal chipping in 17.1 points a game, Washington suddenly had a deadly backcourt. Wall had begun to develop his outside game more but could still put his head down a drive or throw a dime to get easy buckets. The biggest difference was the fact John Wall no longer had to be Batman. Wall finally gained a sidekick, and a powerful one at that, when Bradley Beal came into his own. John Wall was selected to his first all star game as he lead his team to a 44-38 record and took the Wizards to the playoffs. Washington suddenly began to take a serious notice in what Wall and Beal had begun to do in the district. The Wizards were matched up with a Chicago Bulls team that had a rising star in Jimmy Butler and one of the most “what could have been players” in NBA history with Derrick Rose. Wall and the Wizards went out and looked like a seasoned team, like a playoff team that was meant to be in primetime. The Wizards dismantled the Bulls winning the 1st round of the Eastern conference playoffs with a commanding 4-1 series. The Wizards were riding high and the city was ecstatic. Washington D.C. finally had a team that was winning in the playoffs and had all the young talent with unbelievable upside. The Wizards than faced a Indiana Pacers side that was just far too powerful for the young, inexperienced Wizards to defeat. They still put up a good fight, losing the series 4-2.

The 2014-2015 season was almost a mirror image of the 2013-2014 campaign. John Wall lead the Wizards to a 46-36 record and took himself to his second all star game with Beal picking up his scoring and the Wizards again entered the first round of the playoffs. The Wizards absolutely dominated the Raptors, taking the series in a four game sweep as they advanced into Eastern Conference Semifinals once again. This time they faced the Atlanta Hawks, and in a similar fashion lost the series 4-2. But after the season things still looked bright, the Wizards had gone from a joke of a team to back to back winning records and years with a playoff series victory. Washington looked destined to continue their success and eventually get past that pesky second round a make an Eastern Conference Finals. Many fans even foresaw a possible championship appearance in the somewhat near future. And then suddenly, things took an unexplainable turn for the worst. Entering the 2015-2016 season the Wizards were expecting to be a force in the East and return to the playoffs once again. Despite John Wall featuring in his third consecutive all star game, something just didn’t click. The Wiz finished with a lackluster 41-41 record and missed out on the playoffs. It was perplexing to fans of the franchise as how a team that retained almost the exact same roster went from a contender to the definition of mediocre. You could see the frustration building in John Wall as many questioned if he could truly lead his team to greatness.

The 2016-2017 season is about halfway through and Wall is having his best season ever. The Wizards are 21-19 and 5th in the East currently and oh yeah; Wall in averaging an absurd 22.9 points a game to go along with 10 assists. So, as many tipped Wall to not be capable of leading a franchise he turned back and came back with something to prove. Halfway through the season he was proven that he is one of the most elite guards in the NBA and will continue to lead a Wizards team that looks like they could really surprise some people at points this season. Once again in the career of John Wall that has featured extreme ups and downs, he is surprising the league and the city of Washington. The soon to be 4 time all star will truly have solidified himself as a force in the league and one of the saviors of D.C. sports that we all have been so desperately searching for. The Wizards are on form to currently make the playoffs and once you make it in, who knows what will happen. But the one thing is for sure in the case of John Wall, anyone who doubted him prior to the season has been officially shut up.

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The Curious Case of John Wall