The Wizards are 0-5, and will likely go to 0-6 for the first time in franchise history. John Wall is third in the league in turnovers per game. Knowing those two facts, I should have figured that this would be a nice time for Colin Cowherd to check in again with the Wizards second-year point guard.
Yes, that’s right, I’ll be offering more free publicity to the ESPN Radio employee person, because it’s more fun than reviewing YouTube footage to see if any saliva passed from Alex Ovechkin’s lips.
“All you John Wall fans, you’ll be just like the Tebow fans, you’ll come begging back to me, back to the show,” Cowherd said on Tuesday. “And I’ll say no, you didn’t listen to dad. Dad has the answers, sorry. Listen, you fell in love with Tebow, and I said get out of the emotion game, get into the common-sense game. You can’t throw like that and win big games in the NFL. Same with John Wall. The numbers don’t lie. Real talented guy, but not a real leader, and that’s what your point guard has to be.”
Well now, John Wall plus Tim Tebow sounds like the radio version of a crass search-engine designed Web post, no?
Is there some ratings-driven motivation here?
“Any time I can go back and revisit the John Wall stuff, I love to,” Cowherd said. “It’s the highest- rated segment I’ve ever done in my nine years of radio, according to our research department.”
And actually, my transcriptions of Cowherd’s Wall rant did quite well, too. So this is a win-win-win. Cowherd gets radio listens, I get Web views, Wall gets to appear sympathetic even though his team never wins games, and you get to avoid working for a few minutes while also not having to hear Cowherd’s voice.
“John Wall broke into the league last year, opening night, 30-second Dougie dance coming onto the floor,” Tuesday’s rant began. “It was the most idiotic thing I’d ever seen in my life. Nothing against the Dougie, but your first day on any job, you don’t dance into Starbucks, you don’t dance into your newspaper when you just get the gig covering the hockey team, you don’t dance into your sales department. It’s your first day on the job.
“I don’t care [about dancing] if you’ve won six titles, I don’t care if you’ve been in four Pro Bowls later, go for it. But when you haven’t established yourself as anything other than a rookie, you should be humble. Even if you’re a highly touted rookie, you should be humble.
“But John Wall broke in, did the Dougie, and I said at the time, that tells me he’s more Stevie Francis and Marbury than Magic or Stockton. That he’ll have exclusive talent, he’s an elite talent, one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen with a basketball in my life, and there are times he’s a lot of fun to watch. That’s a big difference. That doesn’t mean he’s a great leader.
“Leadership is hard to explain, harder to quantify, but you know it when you see it, and doing the Dougie on your first day at work is not leadership.
“John Wall, by the way, is averaging 4.5 turnovers a game, shooting 32 percent, has no threes this season. Averaging 13.5 for a team that’s 0-5. The key to point guards in this league — because there’s been a lot of great ones — but the key to point guards is do other great players want to play with you.
“Most of the great players in the NBA are smart guys. I mean, Barkley and Jordan, Magic and Bird, Jerry West, go down the line, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Walt Frazier. Name the 50 best players in the NBA, they’re not always the most talented, they’re almost always smart guys. Bill Russell. Hakeem Olajuwon. Clyde Drexler. John Stockton. They’re smart guys.
“And smart guys talk to other smart guys. And they eventually want to play with the right point guard. That’s why you never end up with a lot of great players with Marbury or Iverson. Guys didn’t want to play with them. Agents didn’t want to push em there. And if John Wall wants to be elite, he’s gonna have to get pieces around him. You can’t win championships with point guards. You’ve got to cut the turnovers down, increase the steals, shoot the basketball, work hard in the offseason, and quit getting technicals because you dunked the basketball against the Celtics.
“I’ll say it again with John Wall: he’s gonna be Marbury more than Magic. Magic broke into the NBA day one, massively hyped, more than John Wall could ever dream of. And it was maturity and leadership, Day 1 from Magic. He acted like it was his team. And it was the Lakers. It’s not exactly hard to seize control of the Wizards.
“Although I do like the retro unis. I grew up with Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld, Dandridge, I’m all for em, Chenier, Grevey. Love em. They weren’t the Wizards then, they were the Bullets. They didn’t like the whole Bullets/DC thing, so they went to the Wizards. Long story, let’s not get into it.
“But John Wall — oh, Colin, you’re so mean-spirited, you’re cruel !!! No. I like leadership. Talent is a commodity that many people share; leadership is not. And if you want to be an elite point guard in this league, historically, leadership will be more important than talent. That’s where I think John Wall is lacking: maturity, leadership. It’s a short season, the Wizards are already four and a half back. I mean, he’s averaging four and a half turnovers a game. Well, he doesn’t have anybody around him!!!. Who did Stockton really have? Ostertag? Hornacek? Really? You ever look at those Jazz rosters. Not a lot of Hall of Famers.”
And so on and so forth.