WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal blossoming before our eyes, and the Wizards holding a 2-o lead against the Bulls in their first playoff series in 6 years, it’s worth taking a look back on John Feinstein’s 2012 comments suggesting the duo should never have been.
Roughly two weeks prior to the 2012 NBA Draft, in which the Wizards held the 3rd overall pick, Feinstein professed his love for then-NBA hopeful Kendall Marshall out of North Carolina.
He felt so passionately about Marshall’s potential, in fact, he told the Junkies the Wizards should package John Wall and their 3rd overall pick in a trade for some proven NBA vets and a lower 1st-round pick, taking Marshall with the pick they’d get in return.
Feinstein’s comments, via DC Sports Bog:
“If I was the Wizards, I swear if I could pull off a deal, I would trade down,” Feinstein said. “I would take John Wall, trade down, get a player or two, and use the first pick on Kendall Marshall. I swear to God I would do that, I think that highly of Kendall Marshall.
“They’re not gonna do that,” he continued, “because that’s thinking out of the box. And they’ve made such a big deal out of John Wall they can’t afford to trade him. But I think that would be a good move. I think Kendall Marshall, in terms of running a team, potentially is a lot better than John Wall.”
Marshall struggled greatly in his rookie season, averaging just 3 points and 3 assists per game while shooting 37 percent from the field, and was eventually sent down to the D-League, and actually acquired (and later waived) by the Wizards in the Marcin Gortat/Emeka Okafor trade.
After again joining the D-League, Marshall has since resurrected his career as a member of the Lakers, thanks to Los Angeles having roughly a hundred point guard injuries this season, and is now averaging 8 points and 8.8 assists in 29 minutes per game.
But, if the Wizards had followed Feinstein’s advice and drafted Marshall, there’s no telling which version of the point guard they would have gotten: the 2012 flameout or the 2013 comeback story.
They’d also be out Bradley Beal and John Wall, which brings us full circle.
Feinstein was asked about those comments on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny on Wednesday, following the Wizards taking the series lead against the Bulls:
“I did think they should consider trading down. I would never have said Kendall Marshall should be the No. 1 pick in the draft, although he’s not been as good as I thought he would be, to be honest with you, since he came out of Carolina.
“What I said last summer, I think I said it to you guys was, in my opinion, you don’t give a guy a contract because his agent says he’ll sulk if he doesn’t get it,” Feinstein said of Wall. “Because my attitude is, if that’s who that guy is, then you probably don’t want him long-term. You say to him ‘go out, show us and then we’ll give you the contract.’ They chose not to go that route.
“Fortunately it’s worked out for them. He’s played very well during the season; as you pointed out earlier, he’s not been great so far in the playoffs, but because of those experienced guys and because Beal got hot last night in the 4th quarter, they haven’t needed him to play that great. I think he’s a very good basketball player.
“I’m still not sold on the notion that he’s the next Walt Frazier, the way some people in this town are. I think he’s a very good player. I think, based on this season, if he had not been signed I certainly would have signed him, I just didn’t think they needed to do it last year because his agent was threatening to pull a hissy fit.”
Oh, what could have been.