John Wall is working hard and continuing to do the right things. He gets sloppy, he loses focus, he lets the defense dictate what he does, at times. But you can see it. You can tell he’s going to be great, consistency is the goal.
On Saturday night, he had a back and fourth battle with Chris Paul, picking up his second foul 2:13 into the game and taking a seat for the rest of the first quarter. Wall bounced back with seven points, six assists and two turnovers in 11 second quarter minutes. He controlled the game and made a statement against the best in the league, giving his Wizards a ten point lead over the Hornets before going to the bench with 55 seconds left. Unfortunately, second quarter statements don’t win games.
Paul came out after the half, yapping and talking up a storm. Along with cohort David West, Paul directed traffic, coerced the referees and found his teammates, mainly Trevor Ariza, who had 13 points in the third. Paul put up four assists and two steals in the quarter, didn’t even score, didn’t need to. Wall was forced into four turnovers to only one assist. Paul had the veteran confidence to dominate Wall, winning the third 26-15 and closing out the game for New Orleans with a 92-81 win. Flip Saunders knew it:
“You see the difference between a veteran point guard and a young one. John is going through growing pains. Paul is an established guy that has the ability to dominate a game with maybe not scoring a lot of points, with maybe not being as fast as he has to be, but just controlling the whole tempo of the game.”
Wall said he learned a lot after the game, citing Paul’s patience as lesson learned number one. Looking at the schedule, the next instruction from one of the game’s masters will come on January 17 when Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz come to town.
John Wall needs to learn how to fall, but mainly, he needs to stop doing it so much. He needs to learn how to attack the basket with more control and absorb contract instead of letting it send him flying (like Gilbert Arenas used to do back in the day). And another, Wall needs to respect NBA shooters more … he’s quick enough to be able to guard guys and play their shot. He needs to be less lazy with contesting shots.
[You'd think this picture would make Wizards fans queasy ... just John Wall after a fast-break dunk. He landed okay.]