I’d probably come to your attention that John Wall is kind of a big deal. He’s been the anticipated No.1 overall selection since the start of the college basketball season, and has become one of the most hyped picks of the last decade. His upside is based not only on his ridiculous athleticism and talent, but the fact that his game is so much better suited for the NBA style.
But let’s not undersell the athleticism. Particularly in light of his draft camp performance.
There are tons of reasons to disregard the NBA draft camp. Most players don’t participate in the basketball drills. The agility and leaping drills have led to many players being overrated who simply can’t play basketball. There’s just more to basketball than the physical tools. But we can use the measurements and testing as another tool in our evaluation.
And using it in that manner? Wall’s off the charts.
In the measurements, Wall posted a 6-9.25 wingspan. You can think of the relevance there in terms of his ability to contain large, long guards like Rajon Rondo. You can also use it when projecting his ability to create his own shot over long players and rebounding prowess. As a comparison? Wall’s wingspan was longer than expected No. 2 pick Evan Turner’s 6-8 wingspan. Turner is 6-8 in terms of height, while Wall is 6-4, and yet Wall has a longer wingspan. That’s incredible.
The 25 yard dash was also ridiculous for Wall, who posted the top time of his group with a 3.14. As a comparison, Darren Collison, who is considered one of the fastest players in the league, posted a 3.10. So Wall wasn’t unbelievable, but he was still stunning. His vertical and other numbers will be available later in the week, but it should be noted:
John Wall is every bit the freak of nature we think he is.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.