John Wall, NBA Star, not yet Superstar

May 15, 2017

So the series between the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics has come to an end, and it was everything that we thought it would be.

We saw great performances by great players.  More importantly, we saw the 2010 #1 pick grow up and prove that he is a true “NBA Star”. Unfortunately, he also proved that he is only a “Star” and not yet the “Superstar” many believe him to be.

Now before my co-host and many John Wall fans begin to send hateful responses. Allow me to provide some insight as to why this game 7 will make you face the hurtful truth.

Tonight was the night that if John Wall wanted to show his dominance it would have been in this game. Aside from being the highest draft pick on the floor. We can all admit that he was also the most skilled player on the floor.  He could have shown that he was the “Superstar” many believe him to be by making this game his. Leaving his imprint as many superstars have done before in games of this magnitude.

Whether we are talking LeBron James when he took a young Cavs team to the finals in 2007, D-Wade scoring 42 in a must win finals game against Dallas in 2006, or even last year when Klay Thompson scored 42 points against OKC to force a game 7 and eventually take the series.  Win or Lose, games such as this you walk away saying, the superstar was the best player on the court, even if something kept them from winning (bench play, lack of talent, bad coaching, etc.) However, this game showed that Wall was not the best player on the floor in a game that his team needed him to be, nor did he appear willing or able to step up to the challenge.

Watching this game from start to finish, you could not help and feel that the real hope for this Wizards team to win would come from the effort of Bradley Beal, not John Wall.  Wall who finished with a solid 18 pts and 11 assists, was tied with Markieff Morris as the 3 leading scorer.  Behind Otto Porter with 20 and team high scorer Beal with 38.  Yes, Wall the true PG lead in assist, but in this game, the Wizards needed their best player to be both a distributor and more importantly a scorer. But, at times I would see Wall being more of a bystander, looking for others to deliver.  

With less than 5 mins to go in the 4th, Wall picked up his dribble at the top of the key and waited for Beal to free up for the ball.  A few plays later, he had a baseline drive, and instead of taking the shot, he committed a turnover trying to force a pass all while going 0 for 9 in a clutch period of the game.  A period of the game where the Wizards needed him to become the aggressive team leader that was required for them to pull this out.

His counter on the Celtics however, showed how a PG “superstar” was to perform in “Must-Win” game.  Isaiah Thomas led his team with 29 points and 12 assists, in front of a solid performance by Kelly Olynyk who finished with 26 points of his own.  While I do not hold Thomas to be a superstar, tonight, he was indeed the best player on the floor and made an argument why he should be thought of as one of the leagues “Superstars”.

So another season for the Wizards has come to an end, and I admit the team has a bright future.  However, while I do think that we saw Wall progress this season, the critics of him are once again proven correct. He has the talent, but not yet ready to be mentioned with the greats of the game, those lights have once again proven to be too bright for the former #1 pick.

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