Deservedly John Wall has been selected to play in the NBAs Rising Stars Challenge game at this years All Star Weekend. It might be too late for any additions to that game, but the Wizards in a 107-93 loss to the New York Knicks witnessed firsthand a rising star and a blueprint for how they might play.
Although a week does not make an NBA career, the Knicks Jeremy Lin is that rising star. Still, this past week has been impressive for the second-year player now starting at point guard ahead of rookie Iman Shumpert. Against the Wizards, Lin had 23 points, 10 assists and only two turnovers.
He did a really good job running pick and roll and managing the game, noted his Wizards counterpart John Wall. If we stepped out on the shooter, Lin was able to get a layup. I knew he could play basketball and if you are a guard that can run pick and roll in their coachs offense you have a very good chance to excel.
Undrafted out of Harvard, Lin saw little time last season with the Golden State Warriors. Lin seized extended playing time over the weekend scoring 25 points off the bench in a win over the Nets. In his first career start on Monday against the Jazz, Lin guided the Knicks to a win with 28 points and 8 assists.
You know we can take a page out of their book, said Wizards forward Maurice Evans. We can use John (Wall) in the same way. John is probably the fastest point guard in this league with the ball. He has the ability to attack the rim, the same as Jeremy Lin. People go under pick and rolls, the same as they do on Jeremy Lin. If we can space the floor, we have shooters just like they do.
The loss to the Knicks felt like a missed opportunity with the Knicks missing Carmelo Anthony to a groin injury and Amare Stoudemire away from the team after the death of his brother. With Wall, the Wizards have the capability to execute just like the Knicks did against them on Wednesday night.
Over the past 10 games, Wall has looked more comfortable running the Wizards offense. In a loss to the Magic when Wall only had 2 points, he still found a way to dish out 10 assists. In transition, Wall is showing more discipline and not trying to take on the opposition all by himself as much as he did early in the season.
Even on a 1-on-3 fast-break against the Knicks, Wall stayed under control and scored while drawing a foul. Wall is also giving opponents a reason to respect his shot. The last two games, Wall has scored 60 points on 22 of 40 shooting from the field. Now the challenge for Wall and the Wizards is to get more players involved on a consistent basis.
In addition, the Wizards must continue to get better on defending pick and roll situations. It is not just the Knicks and Lin who will be looking to slice through the Wizards with that fundamental basketball play. It is a challenge that is easier said than done.
We put (the Wizards) through at least 100 pick and rolls, said Lin. They changed coverages and we just kept attacking.