Wizards star John Wall cares how he’s perceived relative to his peers.
When asked at his charity backpack giveaway on Saturday if it bothered him that the Wizards are being overlooked, Wall brought up, unprompted, something he has heard in the media that is clearly bothering him.
“It’s just extra motivation for me. It don’t matter to me. A lot of guys don’t talk about me being a top-5 point guard and that’s cool. It’s just more motivation for me and for us as a team,” he said.
James Harden is better than Wall, though it’s arguable whether he’s a point guard. Kyle Lowry has been better than Wall, though aging might push Wall ahead. However, Ben Simmons could pass Wall. Mike Conley and Kemba Walker are in the same range.
At his best, Wall is a lightning-quick guard with elite ball-handling skills and court vision. He relentlessly attacks the basket, generating efficient shots and finding open teammates when he sucks in defenses. His jumper is good enough to keep opponents honest. And his defense can terrorize.
But he too often coasts, especially defensively. He doesn’t work hard enough to hound opponents, and he settles for jumpers on the other end. He can too often fall on the wrong side of the line between keeping the ball in the best player’s hands and keeping the ball moving.
Overall, Wall is excellent, one of the NBA’s top players. But top five at point guard? He’ll need to channel that motivation he’s talking about to attain that level.