COMMENTARY | John Wall is poised to break out as one of the league's best point guards this year.
With the Washington Wizards setting their sights on the goal of making the postseason for the first time since 2007-08, Wall's play will determine whether or not the team's aspirations become a reality.
Here's why Wall will take his game and his team to the next level in 2013-14:
The injury bug has been a consistent, yet nagging presence in John Wall's early days as an NBA player. During his first three seasons, Wall has missed a whopping total of 62 out of a possible 246 games due to injury. For the mathematicians out there, Wall's been sidelined for roughly one-fourth of his pro career.
Entering his fourth season, Wall is finally healthy and ready to reach his superstar potential. Wall's ability to play in the majority of the Wizards' contests in 2013-14 will go a long way toward making him an All-Star and the team realizing their dreams of qualifying for the postseason for the first time in six years.
He's surrounded by better teammates
A great player doesn't accomplish his success alone; he's usually surrounded by a talented supporting cast. On paper, this year's rendition of the Wizards will be the most talented team Wall has played on since entering the league in 2010-11.
In the backcourt, he's playing alongside emerging shooting guard Bradley Beal, who's primed to establish himself as one of the best young two guards in the game in only his second season. At the three, once he's healthy, 2013 first-round draft pick Otto Porter has the potential to solidify the small forward spot for the next decade.
In the frontcourt, there's the man simply known as Nene -- an All-star-caliber big man who knows how to score in the post. If fellow big man Emeka Okafor can make it back from a herniated disc, he'll provide the Wizards with the interior toughness that's needed to keep the opposition from scoring consistently in the paint.
Coming off the bench, rookie Glen Rice Jr. displayed his potential as he almost single-handedly led the Wizards to victory in their overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets in the team's preseason opener. Having an additional scorer such as Rice providing a spark off the bench will definitely put a smile on Wall's face.
A talented point guard doesn't become a force by himself; assists take place when the player who receives the pass is able to knock down the shots. For the first time in his brief NBA career, Wall is situated around a cast of capable co-stars that can put the ball into the hole and help the young point guard and the Wizards simultaneously attain success this season.
He's becoming a leader
Entering his fourth NBA season, Wall is finally figuring out the importance of stepping up as a team leader.
With the Wizards embracing the lofty goals of securing a playoff appearance this year, Wall has been at the forefront, ready and willing to assume the burdens associated with steering a team to the postseason.
Wall's beginning to realize that it's going to take more than flashy passes and acrobatic layups and dunks to get the job done in this league. Instead of relying solely upon his athletic gifts, his leadership abilities have to serve as the engine that revs up the Washington Wizards in their race to the playoffs.
So goes John Wall, so go the Wizards. Based on his good health, improved supporting cast and emerging leadership capabilities, Wall and the Wizards seem ready to reach higher heights in 2013-14.
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Drexel Perry's a freelance writer who recently moved back to the Washington D.C. area. For additional sports talk, follow him on Twitter @DrexelPerry.
- Sports & Recreation
- Washington Wizards
- John Wall