“Potential” is the word that comes to mind when thinking of John Wall. In three NBA seasons, Wall has shown how good he can be, but he has also shown that he has a lot of learning and growing to do.
The Washington Wizards were right to draft him first overall, but they need to do a better job of surrounding him with talent. Wall averages 8 assists per game for his career, which is impressive considering his age and his teammates.
In addition to being a lethal passer, Wall is an above average scorer. He averaged 18.5 points per game last season thanks to his amazing speed and driving ability. Wall averaged 6.2 free throw attempts per game last season; getting to the free throw line is a big plus for a point guard.
Wall is also a phenomenal defender for his age. His size and athleticism are a huge asset; he can keep his man in front of him and jump into passing lanes faster than anyone. Fans and the media tend to focus on offensive talent these days, but Wall has the potential to be elite on both sides of the ball.
The biggest knock on Wall is his shooting ability. Although he has improved his shot over the past few seasons, defenses still dare him to shoot anything further than 15 feet out. Since Wall heavily depends on driving to the basket, this is a huge limitation. If Wall can force defenders to play up on him, his driving ability will be even more lethal.
Wall is still a young player, so there is definitely room for him to grow. He has the potential to be the best point guard in the league, but his jump shot could hurt his chances.
At this point, Stephen Curry is still the better player, but Wall could easily pass him in the future. Although Curry doesn’t have the athleticism Wall has, he has a shot Wall could only dream of. Curry’s game is limited by his athleticism, but he has become so deadly at shooting that no defense can contain him.
Curry’s shot is so scary to defenders that he barely needs to pump fake for the defender to bite. The defender’s focus on a shot often allows Curry to scurry past and into the paint. Once there, his floater is almost automatic as it arcs over the arms of the help defense.
Curry might not be as gifted as Wall when it comes to passing, but it’s hard to tell. He has been paired with Monta Ellis and then Jarrett Jack since he entered the league. Ellis and Jack dished out at least 5 assists per game when they were paired with Curry. Things look to stay the same with the addition of Andre Iguodala.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – Curry is a deadly shooter, so secondary ball handlers are important. I just think it takes away from Curry’s statistics; he could definitely put up better assist numbers.