Straight on the heels of my return from the Riviera Basketball Camp in Italy I turned around and flew out to Las Vegas to broadcast NBA Summer League action live on NBA TV. Last night I joined Lakers play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers for back-to-back games. First we had the Hornets vs. Wizards followed by the Grizzlies-Timberwolves matchup.
I was looking forward to seeing last year’s rookie star Darren Collison play for New Orleans, but he had to return to UCLA to finish up one last summer session course in order to complete his undergrad degree. I did, however, get to see the featured player for the Wizards and this year’s number one draft pick overall John Wall, who was indeed impressive close-up.
The first thought that comes to mind when describing Wall’s game is lightning strikes quickly. Wall is terrific in the open court and when he sees an opening in the transition defense he shifts to the next gear in order to push the ball down the floor. He can go from 80 miles an hour to 100 miles an hour and find the open seam to finish at the basket.
John also does a great job of protecting the ball and minimizing turnovers. And he has a highly competitive spirit as evidenced tonight when he scored 14 points in Washington’s 18-0 run during the third quarter to bring his team back from a 16-point deficit in the first half to a one-point victory over the Hornets, which was clinched by Lester Hudson’s buzzer beater.
If you’re looking for a weakness, Wall must work on his perimeter game because his opponents will continue to back off and force him to shoot from the outside until he proves that he can make those shots consistently. He doesn’t have to shoot threes, but he has to hit 18-22-foot jump shots.
That being said, John is explosive and will be a major factor in the rebuilding of the Washington Wizards franchise, which will have an outstanding player for many years to come.