There is no question that John Wall has had a rough start to his second season with the woeful Wizards (0-6). He has shot the ball poorly and displayed bad body language. Coach Flip Saunders has even had to threaten him to smile.
Wall’s disappointing start was examined through two completely different takes on Friday. In The Sporting News, NBA columnist Sean Deveney delved into the Wizards’ problems building a competitive team around Wall’s immense talents, while Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell took a look at Wall’s shortcomings as a player contributing to the problems. Both articles are well worth the reads.
Deveney pointed out that JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Nick Young have combined to take 220 shots but have 16 assists between them. He also spoke to an anonymous source close to Wall, who told him that the Wizards have to do a better job of assembling talent and guidance.
“You can’t raise good crops in bad soil,” the source told Sporting News.
Deveney asked Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld if Coach Flip Saunders is the right man for the task of leading this inexperienced team, and Grunfeld said, “Flip is an outstanding coach. His record speaks for itself.”
Saunders may have arrived with success in Detroit and Minnesota, but he is just 49-121 with the Wizards. Since the Wizards drafted Wall, Saunders’s record is 23-65.
Boswell questions whether the franchise moved too quickly to anoint Wall the franchise savior before he figured out how to be an effective NBA player. Boswell writes about how Wall has a career effective field goal percentage of .420, which is the worst in the NBA. Wall is also among the league leaders in turnovers.
“In two respects, he is actually one of the worst players in the league,” Boswell argues.
Boswell asks the Wizards to do a better job of teaching him the game so that he can reach his full potential. “Some wonder whether Wall will want to stay a Wizard when his rookie contract runs out in ’14. That’s not the main issue now. Wall’s game needs a lot of work before it matters greatly where he plays or in what uniform.”