According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, the Washington Wizards began negotiations with John Wall‘s agent, Dan Fegan, last week, and they’re closing in on a 5-year, $80 million extension with their franchise point guard. The deal would make Wall Washington’s “Designated Player,” which is how the fifth year is allowed. Here are five reasons why this is a smart move for the franchise and Wall.
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5. Point guards are the most valuable positional commodity in the NBA these days.
While some probably feel a top-tier point guard is a luxury they can afford to avoid—like, say, the Heat—the rest of the NBA will need a quality point guard if they’re going to have any chance of competing for a title. That’s partially why the Thunder decided to trade James Harden and extend Russell Westbrook, even though Harden might be the superior ballhandler.
Wall might not be an All-Star, but he’s one of the fastest guys in the league—if not the fastest—and when you’re trying to get easy buckets in transition, having the supersonic Wall leading your backcourt is a huge plus. But fast-break buckets aren’t the only reason you want a quality ballhandler leading your charges into their offense.
So much of the NBA is now a pick-and-roll league. A guy like Wall—especially if he’s using Martell Webster, Nene, or even another guard like Bradley Beal to run the pick-and-roll with — is invaluable in the half-court sets that predominate the NBA. Locking him up long term just makes sense because you want a solid and sometimes spectacular player at point. It’s a point guard league, we all just live in it.
4. The Wizards are unlikely to land another point with Wall’s skills.
Despite Marcus Smart coming out next year, and Brandon Jennings‘ uncertain future as a restricted free agent with Milwaukee, the league’s top-flight point guards are all signed. The chances the Wizards could land a player of Wall’s skill-set is hard to envision without a lot of luck.
That’s forgetting to mention that we still don’t know how high the 22-year-old Wall’s ceiling as a player might be. The knee injury that forced him to miss the first 33 games last season robbed him of making the strides he might have if he were healthy. But once he did get acclimated to the rigors of NBA life after he was playing again, we saw some incredible flashes of brilliance from Wall, and the Wizards played close to .500 ball with him back. There’s no telling how good Wall will be when he’s back on the court next season, but the Wizards are wise to try and lock him up long term. There aren’t many point guards with his speed and explosiveness in the open court.