HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — John Wall is struggling.
Maybe you’ve heard.
In addition to his shooting issues, he was taken to the shed Wednesday night in Chicago, not by Derrick Rose but John Lucas III, who had 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. No offense to JL3, but this was a new low for Wall, the former No. 1 pick who came into the league with “star” stamped on his forehead.
If it’s any consolation to Wall, he isn’t alone. A few other young-uns are finding it rough as they try to take that next step to being established and bona fide stars. And why is this? Maybe they played too many summer league games during the lockout.
Maybe they were overhyped.
Or maybe they just need time.
Whatever, here’s a sampling:
— DeMar DeRozan, 22 years old: Double D is shooting 41 percent and had three straight games where he didn’t get double figures. The Raptors were hoping he’d be at least a borderline All-Star this year, and he might still break out. But it’s coming very slowly at the moment for a guy with obvious skills. Here’s DeRozan on his issues, courtesy of Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:
“I just got to play better,” DeRozan said after an 11 point game that saw him hit just one of his first 10 field goal attempts.
“I take a lot of the (blame) when we’re not doing as well because I got to step up and start being consistent on both ends of the floor.”
The offensive drought is the biggest surprise as it was only five games ago that DeRozan was being praised for a more consistent jumper and his much-improved range on that jumper.
DeRozan sounds confident the offence will come.
“We still haven’t caught our rhythm yet,” DeRozan said. “We’re not flowing yet. We show spurts of it in games, but we just have to get everyone involved to where we are all feeding off each other. Sometimes we lean on (Andrea Bargnani) a lot. We need to be able to take the pressure off (Bargnani) and have everyone contribute from the starters to the bench.”
— Ekpe Udoh, 24: Who-do, you ask? Exactly. Udoh was the No. 6 pick in the 2010 draft and still hasn’t shown the Warriors enough to earn more playing time. His offensive game remains raw and the Warriors have a glut of similar-type players ahead of him on the depth chart. The Warriors haven’t been lucky with big men taken recently in the draft, having struck out with Ike Diogu (No. 9 in 2005) and Patrick O’Bryant (No. 9 in ’06).
— JJ Hickson, 23: Hickson hasn’t been terrible or anything and will get more time with the Kings now that Chuck Hayes is out with a bum shoulder. He just hasn’t turned into a rock-solid starter. And remember, this is the guy the Cavs refused to surrender in a trade for Amar’e Stoudemire two years ago. We all know what happened in Cleveland after that.
— Wes Johnson, 24: Talk about being lost in the shuffle in Minnesota, land of 10,000 swing players. Johnson only started the other night because Michael Beasley was hurt, and even then, Johnson didn’t do anything to suggest he’s about to break out. The Wolves would love for him to wrestle minutes away from Beasley, but Johnson can’t do that with 34 percent shooting.
— Gordon Hayward, 21: He’s shooting 39 percent for the Jazz and playing a position that demands a high-volume scorer. For someone who finished up well as a rookie last season, Hayward is off to an interesting start.