If John Wall has shown anything through his first three games at the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series, it’s that nobody can keep up with him in the open court. That extra gear, as if he has the horsepower of a Ferrari in his feet, forces opponents to stand still or gasp from the chase as Wall leaves skid marks on the floor.
He was a one-man fast break on several occasions as he scored 47 points on Tuesday (the Wizards’ team lost, 137-131), at one point splitting former NBA player Jamaal Tinsley and Utah draft pick Jeremy Evans before making a layup over Cleveland forward Samardo Samuels.
“I just think the speed that he has is unmatched,” New York Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups, who matched up with Wall on Tuesday, scoring 38 points through the first three quarters. “Him and Derrick Rose, maybe.”
In three games in Las Vegas, Wall has displayed more confidence in his jumper, but he has mostly used his exceptional speed and athleticism to get to the basket for layups and dunks. Wall has put up some monstrous scoring performances, averaging 43.3 points, but he has yet to lead the Wizards’ “G team” to a win. He had 42 points in his debut and 41 the next night last week, but after Tuesday’s game, some veterans noted that Wall still has to learn how and when to use his quickness.
Billups used the game as an opportunity to pass along a few tricks of the trade to Wall. If Wall got around him off screens, Billups quickly grabbed his off hand to make sure that Wall couldn’t get off the shot, realizing that referees usually don’t make that call. If Wall played him closely on defense, Billups would grab his arm and use him as a springboard to move forward and break free for jumpers or layups. As Jordan Crawford put it, “Chauncey went vet on us and killed us.”
“I’m giving tips to John as we’re playing, knowing that it’s going to affect me, because I’ve got to guard him. But I’m trying to make him better, thinking and seeing the right things,” said Billups, who sat out the fourth quarter and let his teammates finish off the game as he rested a sore right ankle. “I’ve been a solid defender for some time, because of little tricks, being smart. It’s little things like that. He’s like yeah, ‘I got to get that.’ I’m not nowhere near fast as that young boy. But little tricks get you by. I’m like, ‘If you can get all that, with what you got? Trouble.’”
Billups continued: “I’m a big fan of John Wall, man,” Billups said. “So athletic, got a great understanding of the game. Wants to win. Listens. I think he’s going to be a great player. Shooting the ball a lot better. Getting confidence in his shot. I think he’s going to be a stud.”