Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

John Wall’s growth stunted by lack of veterans around him


John Wall was everybody’s pick to have a breakout season, so much so that during preseason prediction season it felt like you had to choose someone else and not take the obvious route.

So far the Wizards are 0-4 and Wall has been pedestrian. He’s only shooting 32 percent on the year — not only is his jumper off he’s not finishing at the rim like he used to — and his assist percentages are down as the Wizards offense looks stagnant.

With the Wizards playing the Celtics back-to-back, you can see the veteran influence that having Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce around him have made on Rajon Rondo. The kind of learning that Wall lacks, A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com points out.

The average Celtic is 28.5 years old, while the average Wizards (0-4) player is 25 years old. The gap is even wider when you compare the C’s starters are 32.6 years of age compared to 25.4 for the Wizards.

“Rondo really developed his first three years,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders. “You hope that John can continue, as far as doing those things….

“Rondo came into a situation with 3 Hall of Fame players,” Saunders said. “(Ray) Allen, (Kevin) Garnett and (Paul) Pierce are all going to be hall of fame players. John didn’t walk into that type of situation. John has more pressure on him.”

Wall’s pressure is that he has to force things and create more offense than Rondo did, Rondo just had to distribute and play smart. He has learned how to do that well and incorporate his own shots into the Celtics offense. Now Rondo is the guy running the show there. He dominated Wall on Sunday, putting up a triple double.

I still expect Wall to get there. But right now, it is tough. He could use some veteran guidance.

Former UCLA, NBA player Dave Meyers dies at 62

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Dave Meyers, the star forward who led UCLA to the 1975 NCAA basketball championship as the lone senior in coach John Wooden’s final season and later played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, died Friday. He was 62.

Meyers died at his home in Temecula after struggling with cancer for the last year, according to UCLA, which received the news from his younger sister, Ann Meyers Drysdale.

He played four years for Milwaukee after being drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Shortly after, Meyers was part of a blockbuster trade that sent him to the Bucks in exchange for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The 6-foot-8 Meyers led UCLA in scoring at 18.3 points and rebounding at 7.9 in his final season, helping the Bruins to a 28-3 record. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds in their 92-85 victory over Kentucky in the NCAA title game played in his hometown of San Diego.

Meyers Drysdale also played at UCLA during her Hall of Fame career.

Meyers assumed the Bruins’ leadership role during the 1974-75 season after Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes had graduated. Playing with sophomores Marques Johnson and Richard Washington, Meyers earned consensus All-America honors. Meyers made the cover of Sports Illustrated after the Bruins won the NCAA title.

“One of the true warriors in (at)UCLAMBB history has gone on to glory,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Dave Meyers was our Captain in `75 and as tenacious a player ever. RIP.”

Johnson recalled in other tweets how Meyers called him `MJB’ or Marques Johnson Baby when he was a freshman, and later in the NBA, Meyers was nicknamed “Crash” because he always diving on the floor for loose balls.

As a junior, Meyers started on a front line featuring future Hall of Famers Walton and Wilkes.

Meyers was a reserve as a sophomore on the Bruins’ 1973 NCAA title team during the school’s run of 10 national titles in 12 years under Wooden. The team went 30-0 and capped the season by beating Memphis 87-66 in the championship game, when Meyers had four points and three rebounds.

In 1975, Meyers, along with Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman and Brian Winters, was traded to Milwaukee for Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley.

During the 1977-78 season, Meyers was reunited with Johnson on the Bucks and averaged a career-best 14.7 points. He missed the next year with a back injury. Meyers returned in 1979-80 to average 12.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in helping the Bucks win a division title.

Born David William Meyers, he was one of 11 children. His father, Bob, was a standout basketball player and team captain at Marquette in the 1940s. The younger Meyers averaged 22.7 points as a senior at Sonora High in La Habra, California.

Meyers made a surprise announcement in 1980 that he was retiring from basketball to spend more time with his family. He later earned his teaching certificate and taught sixth grade for several years in Lake Elsinore, California.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, whom he married in 1975, and daughter Crystal and son Sean.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.