As basketball fans, we know that last year wasn't exactly the year for the Wizards. Washington fans have been waiting for what seems like forever to see John Wall play again, and now is the time. We've seen the open run videos of Wall snatching ankles, and we've seen the videos of his new and improved jump shot, including a much better shot from three. Wall has given it all he has to return, and now, it's his time.
John Wall suffered the gruesome ruptured achilles tendon in December of 2018. It was clear that he would be out for a while, but I don't think fans were expecting a two year absence from him. Wall has done so much rehab and has been working on such basic exercises that he then found difficult because of the injury. It was a good year before he could even think about playing in a pickup game, and even then, things were extremely uncertain. Wall said he was in the best shape he'd been in since the injury before the pandemic, but the pandemic did set him back a bit. Wall was still able to do pickup games and open runs at private gyms, and some of his recent scrimmages have been released for the public to see. Wizard fan or not, you can see he looks ready to play. A lot of people thought that due to the injury, a lot of his explosiveness would be gone, but I can clearly see from the videos that exploding won't be a problem for him. So with a fully healthy looking John Wall, how can the Wizards integrate him into their current lineup?
The talk of the town for Wizards fans at the end of last season was who the Wizards were going to keep at point guard, Ish Smith or Shabazz Napier. Well I think it's obvious who they're going to go with, and that's the man who's signed for one more year, Ish Smith. They aren't going to re-sign Napier if they already have Wall and Smith, and if they did, they would have to pay him at a very low rate. I could go on with the reasons I would rather have Ish Smith than Napier, but here's a reason that some people may not come to immediately. Ish Smith plays the game similarly to John Wall. Smith has ridiculous speed and is always a serious threat to hit from the mid-range, and I mean serious. Ish can pass the ball well and has a fantastic layup package. So I think that with Smith, the Wizards coaching staff could call some of the same plays for Smith that they call for Wall.
We all know that Wall can pass, so this will work well as Wall likes to drive to the hoop very often. If the Wizards were to keep Davis Bertans and Garrison Mathews, that would only help things as they are tremendous three point shooters. For the big men like Thomas Bryant and Moe Wagner, the Wizards should draw up plays to get them into the mid-range to either give Wall more room to score, or give themselves space so that Wall can kick it back out to one of them. I've seen it, Wagner can score in the mid-range and so can Thomas Bryant, so those plays would be lethal. The pick and roll game with Wall and Bryant could also be very good as Bryant could roll to the basket as a lob threat or a finisher in the paint, but he could also fade back out to the three point line where he shot a blistering 40.7% during the regular season. The Wizards are a young team and they like to get out and run, John Wall will only had to that with his IQ, his ability to pass the ball, and obviously, his speed. Additionally, an older player with the ability to mentor the younger players is exactly what the Wizards players need. The average age of the Wizards not counting Ian Mahinmi and Ish Smith is 24.2 years old. In case you're wondering, that's a very young team filled with players that are ready to get better, and Wall can help them with that. All this talk about the positive effects Wall will have on the team, we have to talk about the one downside, turnovers. I know he's a point guard and has the ball in his hands most of the time, but sometimes he wants to pass it a bit too much, and that causes him to turn the ball over. In order to be the X-factor for this team, he'll need to limit the amount of times he turns the ball over, because for the Wizards, that's points he's just throwing away.
Last but certainly not least, the chemistry Wall will bring to the team. Bradley Beal can't wait for Wall to be back on the court. More than half of the team hasn't actually played with Wall yet because they weren't on the team when Wall last played. One thing is always for sure, however, and that is the young player's desire to please and impress the all-star veteran. Young guys will play their heart out for Wall so that they might get approval from him, and once they do, that just gives them even more confidence.
I believe John Wall and Bradley Beal will be one of the top 3 backcourts in the league next year, but as I always say, we'll just have to wait and see.
Thank you for reading the article! Until next time, remember, John Wall is completely healthy and looking for revenge on the league, players and coaches better watch out!