HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It doesn’t matter if it’s choosing sides for kickball during recess or the NBA Draft, someone always feels slighted.
But the No. 1 pick of the 2010 Draft was done a grave disservice last night during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft on NBA TV. When John Wall has to watch 11 other players, rookies and sophomores, come off the draft board ahead of him … “Houston we have a problem!”
If anyone thinks there are 11 first-and second-year players in the NBA better than Wall, playing better than Wall or that would get picked before Wall in a pick-up game anywhere on the planet, they are crazy.
I understand that the Wizards have been a frustrating group this season and that Wall’s reputation has suffered because of it. But this notion that he’s anything other than one of the best young talents in the league is simply foolishness.
Wall’s reaction to the draft snub from both Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, who ended up taking him, was classic. His response, via Twitter, “Motivation!!”
As my main man Michael Lee of The Washington Post pointed out to me last night and again today, Wall has been ballin’ as of late, doing it all in the shadow of Jeremy Lin‘s worldwide takeover of the game (and on The Post’s website, there’s a Lin feature above anything Wall or Wizards, which should tell you about the chip Wall will have on his shoulder by the time he arrives in Orlando next week):
Although his numbers are down this season, Wall still leads all second-year players in assists at 7.6 and ranks second only to the all-star Griffin in scoring average at 16.7 points (Yes, amidst the league-wide Linfatuation with the New York Knicks, Wall has actually produced better stats for the entire season).
Wall had a slow start to the season, but over his past 19 games, he is averaging 18.8 points, 8.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds. In his past six games, Wall is quietly averaging 21.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting and 9.8 assists
Wall has every reason to show out in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. And this draft snub is all the motivation he needs to get loose. And I’m saying this after publicly endorsing Team Shaq last night.