When the Wizards took John Wall no. 1 overall in 2010, he was immediately embraced by the city at its basketball savior. A day later, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty even declared June 25 as ‘John Wall Day.’
It wasn’t just the D.C. area that got caught up in Wall-fever, and it began well before he reached the NBA ranks.
From the time Wall led his high school to the North Carolina state championship game in 2009, media members from across the country jumped at the chance to proclaim him the next big thing.
That swell of support followed Wall through his one-and-done year at Kentucky, carrying him all the way to draft night.
In the Washington Post Thursday, super agent David Falk smashed John Wall, and then later apologized.
Here’s what he said:
“I’m serious. He doesn’t have a feel for the game. He only knows how to play one speed. Magic Johnson had a great feel, a court sense, by the time he was sophomore in college. Chris Paul had it by the time he was a sophomore in high school.”
But were the expectations placed on John Wall coming into the league unfair?
Here’s how Lavar and Dukes reacted on 106.7 The Fan:
Chad: Alright, you’re comparing him to Magic Johnson, which is one of the greatest professional athletes we’ve ever seen.
Lavar: They gave the man a day when he got drafted.
Chad: I understand that, but that has nothing to do with him.
Lavar: I’m just saying the amount of hype. We can’t pick and choose when we say the media machine getting behind someone doesn’t matter. We tend to say this guy is popular because of the media. This guy made the All-Star game because of the media. Well, you know what, they considered this guy the next coming because of the media. So whether he had anything to do with it or not, he had an expectation placed on him, whether fair or unfair, based off of being what he was to that draft.
Whether fairly or unfairly placed, it is fair to say John Wall has not lived up to expectations; expectations that were manufactured by the media.
If you compare his college production to what he’s doing this season in the NBA by measuring three vital statistics for a point guard – field goal percentage, points per game and assists per game – the numbers are surprisingly comparable:
2009-10 Kentucky: 46% FG, 16.6 PPG, 6.5 APG
2012-13 Wizards: 42% FG, 14.7 PPG, 7.3 APG
Now let’s compare that production to some NBA point guards drafted after John Wall – currently seeing similar minutes – using the same offensive parameters from the current season:
2010 NBA Draft
1. John Wall 42% FG, 14.7 PPG, 7.3 APG
18. Eric Bledsoe 45% FG, 9.7 PPG, 3.3 APG
19. Avery Bradley 39% FG, 8.5 PPG, 1.5 APG
28. Greivis Vasquez 43% FG, 13.9 PPG, 9.4 APG
2011 NBA Draft
1. Kyrie Irvin 46% FG, 23.5 PPG, 5.5 APG
8. Brandon Knight 40% FG, 13.5 PPG, 4.3 APG
9. Kemba Walker 42% FG, 17.2 PPG, 5.6 APG
2012 NBA Draft
6. Damian Lillard 41% FG, 18.3 PPG, 6.5 APG
Maybe the problem hasn’t been Wall all along, it’s been everyone else – and that includes Mr. Falk.
And let’s not forget: John Wall is still younger than half the point guards mentioned above.