My latest at the Washington Post. This one looks at John Wall’s rookie season.
Lemme see — I’ve written that the Wizards should trade Andray Blatche and avoid a major investment in Nick Young. Let’s turn the focus to a positive — the development of the team’s one true franchise bedrock: John Wall.
Despite injury struggles, a balky jumper, and inconsistent defense, Wall has so far produced a solid rookie season that suggests he’s a player the team can build around. Wall’s blazing speed and aggressiveness with the ball make him a one-man fastbreak that consistently worries the opposition. His ability to get to the rim in the open court — despite multiple opponents getting back in an effort to cut him off — is in the upper echelon of the league’s point guards.
Only six players since 1979-80 posted rookie seasons comparable to Wall’s play so far this season (at least 1,500 total minutes with a minimum of 13 points, 8.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes).
One addition to the story — APBRmetrics analyst Mike Goodman asked his Euclidian Similizer to generate players who had individual seasons similar to Wall. Here’s the list:
- Erick Murdock — blech
- Rod Strickland — a flawed player, but Strickland could penetrate and dish with the best
- Jamaal Tinsley — career imploded because of a bad attitude and a refusal to stay in shape
- Andre Miller — steady and very solid PG with a long career
- Sleepy Floyd — dynamic player at his peak, but his peak was brief
- Brent Barry — seems strange at first, especially since Barry was a GREAT shooter. But, Brent was also a high-flyer in his early days and he generated a goodly number of assists.
- Brian Shaw — solid but unspectacular guard who had a good career
- Kenny Anderson — a schoolboy legend and All-American at Georgia Tech, Anderson never quite lived up to that potential as a pro. Still, Anderson did play 14 seasons and appeared in one All-Star game.
- Mike Bibby — a solidly above average PG now in his 13th season
- Terry Porter — 17 seasons. A career PER of 17.2; peak PER of 21.7. Career playoff PER of 17.0. Two All-Star games.
- Tim Hardaway — already addressed in my article for the Post.
- Darrell Armstrong — didn’t arrive in the NBA until age 26, but still played 14 seasons. Peak PER was 22.0. Won Most Improved and 6th Man of the Year award.
- Robert Pack — Extremely talented player who kept getting hurt. His best season was in Washington (95-96) when he averaged 18.1 points and 7.8 assists. Unfortunately, he got hurt and played just 31 games that season.