Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - John Wall became the first member of the
vilified draft class of 2010 to sign a contract extension.
Fitting, since he was the No. 1 overall pick.
Reports say Wall got max money (five years, $80 million) from the Washington
Wizards, but, much like all deals in the nation's capital, details were not
Is Wall worthy of max money?
The simple reality is, whether you think so or not, he was going to get it. In
this time in the NBA, max contracts are thrown around like marbles. Within the
structures of collective bargaining, Brook Lopez, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon
have max deals.
The reality Washington faced was that if Wall hit the open market, some team
would've ponied up the loot. It would most likely have come next offseason,
and while the Wiz could've matched whatever offer came forth, it was probably
just easier to appease their star.
And the fact that Wall is Washington's star looms large. People have pointed
to the deals Jrue Holiday, Steph Curry, Jeff Teague and Ty Lawson signed as a
barometer of Wall's worth. That quartet signed four-year deals worth less than
$50 million, and, with the exception of Curry, none of those young men are the
flagship for their respective organizations.
(Shame on Curry and his agent for that, by the way.)
Is Wall better than any of those four? It's debatable, but Washington paid for
promise, not performance.
Wall has played 184 games in his three-year NBA career. His numbers are pretty
close to special at 16.9 ppg, 8.0 apg, 1.5 spg and even 4.4 rpg, which is a
decent number for a point guard.
Last season was the defining moment in Wall's short tenure. If assessing his
worth came down to wins and losses, Wall's Wizards were 5-28 in the first 33
games while he recovered from a knee injury. They went 24-25 with him in the
And his numbers improved. Wall posted career highs in points, free-throw
percentage and field-goal percentage in the 2012-13 campaign. His turnovers
were down to a low of 3.2 per game.
That number is still high and Wall's game is not a polished product. He's a
world-class penetrator and decent facilitator, averaging an assist total that
would've tied him for sixth in the NBA last season.
But Wall is a terrible perimeter shooter, especially from long range. He shot
26.7 percent from behind the three-point line last season and his career-best
was 29 percent in his rookie year.
Wall has injury history, but is now healthy and explosive.
Does it all add up to a max deal? It probably does if you're the Wizards.
Again, Wall is the face of the organization and that separates him from the
Holidays, Teagues and Lawsons of the world.
"He is the cornerstone of our team, and we have clearly expressed our desire
to build around him well before making it official by re-signing him today,"
Wizards Chairman, Majority Owner and CEO Ted Leonsis said in a statement on
Wednesday. "We are extremely confident in his leadership abilities and are
excited to see the continued improvement of the team."
The Wiz are building something and if you look at that 24-25 record late last
season, one can assume Wall had a ton to do with it. Bradley Beal and Otto
Porter Jr. were brought in the last two drafts. Those two, with Wall at the
helm, provide Washington with a wing core for years to come.
And, in the pathetic Eastern Conference, well, after the Heat, Pacers, Bulls,
Nets and Knicks, the Wizards could easily gain a playoff berth next season.
They'll battle the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and Toronto
Raptors for the final three spots and if you think Washington can't compete
with them, you're nuts.
With veteran frontcourt players like Emeka Okafor, Nene and Martell Webster,
who signed a flabbergasting four-year, $22 million contract in the offseason,
Washington is a legit playoff threat.
Now, Wall is locked up as the franchise builds. Okafor, Trevor Ariza and their
combined $22 million are off the books after next season.
Hello, possible max free agent. Great point guards make great players want to
Perhaps what's most interesting about Wall's deal isn't how it relates to the
Wizards, but how it relates to the 2010 draft class, who are now eligible for
extensions of their rookie deals.
The only other player in that draft class virtually assured a max contract is
Paul George with the Indiana Pacers. The 10th pick in the '10 draft turned
into an All-Star, two-way stud and will get paid.
Who else in that class gets max money?
The most obvious candidate is Sacramento Kings big man, DeMarcus Cousins. In
his three-year career, Cousins has averages of 16.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg. Twenty-
two-year-old bigs with those numbers are hard to come by, but of course, it's
not that simple.
Cousins offers more headaches than the day after Mardi Gras. He led the NBA in
technical fouls last season and has been suspended more than once, including a
ban by the Kings for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the
Does talent override attitude? It probably should. Cousins could mature still
and those numbers for a big man, especially on a horrendous team, are too
What about the rest of that class?
Evan Turner was tabbed second by the Philadelphia 76ers. It's doubtful he'll
get extended. He has talent and was used incorrectly by former head coach Doug
Collins. However, Philly is selling everything short of the Liberty Bell and
the recipe for cheesesteaks in order to rebuild completely.
Derrick Favors is going to be really good now that he will get starters'
minutes with the Utah Jazz. But, max money? No way he's earned that or no way
his potential warrants such at this time. He's no John Wall.
Greg Monroe is sort of close, but not there. Same goes for Larry Sanders, who
has only enjoyed one season of noteworthy success.
Gordon Hayward? Eric Bledsoe? Avery Bradley? You know the answer to that.
We won't even broach the subject with disappointments like Wesley Johnson, Ed
Davis or Ekpe Udoh.
Wall has set the standard. It's one that Washington now has to live with and
one that will probably not set precedent for the class of the 2010 NBA Draft.
- Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports reported that LeBron James is considering
running for president of the NBA's players association. It's a huge
commitment, one that James probably doesn't have time for, as Whitlock
stated. However, the very fact that James is so interested in that aspect of
business is a great thing. Having star power invested in the union is a huge
asset, not only negotiating, but in terms of keeping members united.
- Still don't know what to make of the Detroit Pistons/Milwaukee Bucks swap.
This I know - I like Milwaukee getting Brandon Knight, who was mussed around a
bit in Detroit. They had him at the point, then moved him to off guard with
the midseason trade for Jose Calderon, then moved him back to the point when
the Pistons drafted Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a natural shooting guard. Knight
is so young that he's worth the investment for the Bucks. He'll continue to
improve. Brandon Jennings can score and is a decent facilitator. He might be
worth the risk for Detroit, but the ball should go through the bigs like Greg
Monroe, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond. Is asking him to do that negating his
biggest strength, his scoring?
- Mike D'Antoni told a Los Angeles radio program "ESPN L.A. Now," Dwight
Howard's free-agent decision to leave Los Angeles was "mind-boggling a little
bit ... Obviously he didn't think he would be as happy here as he will be in
Houston." That actually should unboggle your mind, Mike. Sounds pretty clear.
Anyone want to bet the Lakers have a better record than the Rockets next
season? Of course not. Maybe another reason, Mike.
- People love to discount the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason. They traded
for a legit backup big for both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in Kosta Koufos;
signed shooter Mike Miller, who will help at the end of the season; re-signed
Tony Allen, the best perimeter defender in the universe; and are apparently in
the mix for both Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. That's a bench right there
and they got a steal with Jamaal Franklin in the second round to go along with
returning Ed Davis, who showed glimpses in Toronto, and Jerryd Bayless. The
loss of Lionel Hollins hurts, but they replaced him with his top assistant,
Dave Joerger. Sign me up for Memphis. (If they bring in Williams and Jamison.)
- Movie moment - Dennis Farina's death last week inspired me to remember that
"Midnight Run" was the first R-rated movie my parents let me watch. A couple
(100 so) f' bombs didn't negate a hilarious, brilliantly acted comedy.
- Movie moment II - Eileen Brennan passed away this week and she's probably
not well known by the younger crowd. But, as a child, I watched "Clue" so many
times, I can absolutely still recite it word-for-word. She was the only Mrs.
Peacock one could imagine -- at least based on the card from the board game.
- TV moment - "Parks and Recreation" is still my favorite show on TV. Rob Lowe
and Rashida Jones leaving midseason hurts, but it's manageable. Now, if the
show lost Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza, two young actors making their way in
movies now, that could be a death blow. Also, the show may be ending after
next season, so it could all be a wash.
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