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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

John Wall’s Future in DC

Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and, as of right now, all of the Capitals; these are the faces of Washington sports (sorry Alex Smith). In that same echelon though, the 2010 University of Kentucky product, John Wall.

The clutch three pointer two years ago to force a game seven against the Boston Celtics; the endless circus layups; and a blur on the fast break, John Wall undoubtedly brought much needed electricity and energy to basketball in the nation’s capital.

While Wall is unequivocally excellent as a player, his talent lends himself to a sought-after trade prospect.

Without Wall on the floor, the Wizards arguably played some of their best ball. Producing at a net rating of 3.6, that is not only the highest of the Wizards’ season, but comparable to the title contenders’ such as the Rockets, Cavaliers, and Warriors.

When backup point guard Tomas Satoransky found his rhythm, ball movement, player ratings, and total assists skyrocketed for the majority of the players. Eventually, the team was knocking off the following playoff teams handily: the Bucks, Raptors, Pacers, Thunder, and Cavs; to put it simply, the Zards were rolling without Wall.

Also, with the Wall-star playing on a bum knee in the run-and-gun league we all know and love, this could very well hurt him in the long run (no pun intended). Just another reason to consider putting him on the trade block.

Further, Marcin Gortat (who has butted heads with Wall in the past) needs to leave if Wall ends up staying. This beef between the two rubbed off onto the rest of the team, and a players-only meeting had to be called to rectify the situation. This drama is the last thing the team needs, and at the root of the problem was Wall chemistry with the team. The Polish hammer and Wall have since fixed their relationship, but team chemistry and their play suffered as lower net rating and win percentage endured.

This is not what Washington needs.

Despite all this, Wall is easily a top five point guard in the league, and maybe the best two-way player at the position. The Wizards need to add pieces this offseason if they want even the slightest chance at a playoff run. At the very least, the Wizards should see what they can get for Wall. They need not trade him, but test the waters to see how this point guard-clogged league values the Kentucky man.

This may give the front office an idea on possible offseason moves. If they do decide to trade the all-star though, that will leave players such as Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Otto Porter to fully develop. Glimpses of these three playing in harmony was evident when Wall was injured, and if that same level of play is held throughout the next season, Washington will be a contender.

Acquiring a big-man such as Demarcus Cousins or DeAndre Jordan will only strengthen this post-struggling team and allow the multitude of shooters to hit their stride. In an offense-heavy league, a high-powered, three point driven offense is a necessity.

“The Wizards need to add pieces this offseason if they want even the slightest chance at a playoff run.”

The Washington Wizards have talent across the board; players will step up, as we saw with Wall out, and maybe in the long term, a Wizards roster without the elite point guard is a better all around team.

It is essentially a choice between two types of teams: a talented team that plays efficiently within themselves; or a lineup that seems content taking the backseat as Wall drives the car.

It is your move, Grunfeld.

– Adam

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