The saying goes absence makes the heart grow fonder. Apparently, that idiom does not apply to John Wall.
On Tuesday, ESPN released a list of the Top-25 NBA players under the age of 25. Here is what they had to say about the Wizards point guard:
There is nothing wrong your monitor. The blank space says it all. Last season on the same list, Wall ranked 10th overall. This season, he didn't make the cut.
Wall is six games back from a knee injury that kept him on the sideline for three months. Even though the speedy point guard is coming off the bench while ramping up his conditioning after missing 33 games, Wall is averaging 14.0 points, 6.7 assists in 25 minutes. More importantly, the Wizards have won four of those six games after winning only five of the previous 29.
However, the article states rankings were based not on this season's production, but "how we would order these players if we were starting a franchise and would have them for the next several years, not just this season."
So what changed in Wall's value? Seeing as I cannot get in the minds of the two talent evaluators, not sure.
Last season, despite playing primarily with a trio of knuckleheads, Wall averaged 16.3 points and eight assists, one of only three players in the league to average at least 16 and 8.
Granted it's a short sample, but you look at Wall's numbers this season on a 36-minute per game basis (the same number he averaged last season), he's at 20.2 points and 9.6 assists.
Last summer the powers that be decided the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft was worthy of inclusion on the Team USA select squad that scrimmaged the Olympic team.
Yet on this list, Wall is passed over for the likes of Ed Davis, DeAndre Jordan, Larry Sanders plus fellow point guards Brandon Jennings, Damian Lillard and Wall's former Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe.
Wall is getting used to such oversights. In the days leading up to his return this month, he was about possibly being forgotten by those around the league after a lengthy absence.
"I’m used to that anyway," Wall said. "I feel like ever since I been drafted, ever since I got drafted, I’ve been under the shelf so I’m not worried about none of that. I’m just happy I’m getting the opportunity to play basketball again. I’m not really focused on what anybody is saying or what anybody thinks about my future or my career."
Rankings are of course subjective. Last year Wall made CSNwashington's "Top DC Pro Athletes under the age of 25" list, but fellow Wizard Bradley Beal did not despite my Dikembe Mutombo finger wagging at the naysayers. As the ESPN authors noted, this list is jacked with talent. It's simply hard to fathom how the face of the Wizards franchise is not on it.