In a recent interview with Edward G. Robinson III of the Washingtonian, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall was asked whether or not he believed he was worthy of being labeled a “franchise player” in the NBA.
“Everybody is looking at me like, ‘Well, his first two seasons was the same. Can he be a franchise savior?’ ” Wall said. “I see it on ESPN all the time. ‘Is he a franchise player? Would you trust him with your team?’ I know I would trust myself with this team.”
In a second interview, Grantland’s Zach Lowe asked John if he is a “max-contract” player.
“I feel like I am. I do, definitely,” Wall said.
The Wizards are 15-13 since he returned to the line-up after missing the start of the season with a left knee injury. The team currently 13th in the Eastern Conference with an overall record of 20-41, including 5-24 on the road, which is the lowest win total away from home in the league.
Through 28 games, Wall is averaging 14.1 points on 41% shooting, including 7.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
John will become a restricted free-agent in the summer of 2014, but will be able to sign an extension with Washington at the end of this season, if both parties come to terms.
Wall is as close to a franchise player that the Wizards have at the moment, unless rookie Bradley Beal can stay healthy and continue to develop at the pace he’s on. But for now, it’s all Wall, no matter how depressing that may sound.
He has tremendous potential and an athleticism at the point guard position that very few in the league can match, but even with all of that, John is nowhere close to being a max-contract player, at least at the moment.
It’s nice that he believes he is, but even if you truly believe in something hard enough, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true, correct or even realistic.
What has he done in Washington that would make the casual basketball fan believe that he is the real deal? What’s he accomplished in the NBA that makes him so special, that a team would seriously invest a grand sum of money in him?
Is he a superstar? Nope. It’s debatable, but don’t try convincing me that he is.
Is he an All-Star? Well, he’s never made the team.
Can he stay healthy? He’s missed 13 or more games in each of his first three seasons.
Is he the leading scorer for Washington? That distinction belongs to Beal, but Wall is just 0.1 points off the mark (14.1). Still, those aren’t great numbers.
Can he shoot? From the right elbow of the court (over 50%), but that’s about it. He shoots less than 30% from most other mid-range locations.
Is he a top-10 player at his position?
Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry and Deron Williams. A case could also be made for guys like Mike Conley Jr., Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon, Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin. I’m not entirely sure where Wall ranks amongst those gentlemen, but he’s certainly not in the top-10, that’s for sure.
The Wizards need to hold their horses and wait until the summer of 2014 to re-sign Wall, if they so choose.
Players sometimes take it as a show of disrespect if their respective teams don’t offer them a new contract at the first chance they get, but in this case, it would benefit Washington to wait.
Rest assured, there won’t be a slew of teams on the market ready to offer John what he wants.
He should be paid what he’s worth, not on what he may be worth three to four years down the road.
You can’t downplay his confidence in his own abilities, but to believe that he’s a max-contract player is just foolish.