Last season ended in heartbreak for four-time All-Star John Wall. After setting a goal of making the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in his seven-year career, he fell short in a tough Game 7 against the Boston Celtics. Wall should be as motivated as ever to take his game to even greater heights, and solidify the Washington Wizards as a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.
Wall agreed to the super max extension this past summer that will pay him $207 million dollars through 2023. Many athletes have been known to get complacent once they get the big contract they have been working for, but Wall has been given some incentive from “The Black Mamba” himself, Kobe Bryant.
— WizardsTalk (@WizardsTalk) August 27, 2017
1st team all defense https://t.co/zbee5KUe6h
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 27, 2017
Making 1st team All-Defense would be a great accomplishment for Wall. Although he lead the league in total steals last year, and lead all point guards in blocks, he didn’t make an All-NBA Defensive team. This was probably due to Washington’s poor defensive efforts as a team. They allowed their opponents to score 107.4 points per game, which was the tenth worst in the NBA. After a sub-par showing from Washington on the defensive end last year, they need Wall to be the emotional leader that takes them to another level.
Offensively, the point guard was special last year, averaging 23.1 points and 10.7 assists (both career highs). He took his game to an even greater level in the playoffs, where he averaged 27.2. points.
— NBA (@NBA) May 16, 2017
If Washington wants to go the Eastern Conference Finals this year, Wall must take another leap in his production. Last season is going to be difficult to top, but it is necessary. Washington did not add any new pieces that will truly help them get to that next level, so Wall must take more of the offensive load on his shoulders if Washington wants to continue to stay competitive — and fans should expect him to do so. Wall’s performance this past postseason is proof that he can be a top five player in this league. His mix of athleticism and vision is second-to-none in the NBA, and he is ready to take the next step.
Look for Wall to average 25 points and 11 assists this year. He will also complete the “Mamba Challenge,” and be 1st team All-Defense. Wall will also move from 3rd team All-NBA, to 2nd team All-NBA.