John Wall carries so much expectation with him. Drafted out of the John Calipari school of top picks and elected to save the Wizads, Wall has every set of abilities you could want in a point guard. Except he hasn’t put those abilities consistently together yet. He plays too breakneck to the rim, he hasn’t been able to drag the rest of the knuckleheads on his team to efficiency, if such a thing were possible, and he’s struggled to make significant improvements. His assist rate is down, his turnovers are up, and hasn’t made a significant leap in any area (though his PER is significantly up). So he hasn’t been playing great. Oh, yeah, and in a related story, his team is downright awful.
As a result, he plummeted this week when Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal divied up the top rookies and sophomores for the Rising Stars challenge. And Wall is not happy about it. From the Washington Post:
“It’s a joke to me,” said Wall, who is averaging 16.9 points and 7.5 assists in his second season. “If they think there are 11 guys better than me, then that’s their decision. But I know what I think in my mind and all I can do is go out there and play basketball the way I know how to play.”
“I’m not upset, just let me tell you how much I do not respect this decision and how wrong it is. But again, don’t care.”
Wall did go low. But this wasn’t a serious process. There’s nothing riding on this game and most of the process is about star power. Right now, Wall’s star power is very low. He’s a much better player than Jeremy Lin, but Jeremy Lin is immensely popular right now and so was picked higher.
But you know what? Wall needed something like this. He’s gotten so much positive reinforcement over the past two years, he needs something as motivation. Now if he could just motivate his front office into moving Andray Blatche and getting some actual helpful offensive firepower around him, he might be getting somewhere. We’ll see how Wall responds to the slight.