In the coming weeks I'm putting together a post for each of the top 14 prospects. One of these guys will be a Sixer in a couple months and once the lottery occurs, a furious, month-long debate -- about who the Sixers should take, who they shouldn't take, and where they should take them -- will break out.
I'll be gathering various blurbs and excerpts from across the web for each player, mainly Draft Express and ESPN. The purpose of these posts is to allow everyone to form an educated opinion on the prospects -- though educated sources -- without having to search high and low. I could very easily write my own scouting reports on these guys, but I'd simply be piggy-backing off what I read, highlights, and the ≤3 games I've seen of each individual. I consider myself educated, but no expert.
Here's numero uno, John Wall:
The athleticism is obvious, but can he pass and play defense?
More important than the numbers is the fact that Wall is clearly showing excellent instincts as a passer, both with the creativity in which he gets the ball to teammates in different spots on the floor-he's more than just a vanilla drive and dish point guard-and also with the willingness he displays to get others involved.
This is exactly what you want to see from a modern day NBA point guard-the ability to take over as a scorer and shot-creator when needed, to go along with the selflessness to want to make everyone around him better.
Another area in which Wall has been better than advertised is with his play on the defensive end. Not only does he have the physical attributes required to be a lockdown defender-with his terrific size, wingspan and lateral quickness-but (unlike Derrick Rose) he also shows the type of aggressiveness and intensity to take advantage of his tools.
So, he's athletic, full of potential, a nasty defender, a gifted passer ... what can't the man do?
The most glaring weakness we can recognize revolves around his ability to operate in the half-court. According to the data we have at our disposal, Wall's field goal percentage in transition situations sits at an amazing 77%. Once he's forced to play in the half-court, though, his field goal percentage plummets to just 40%. Similarly, he's been able to draw fouls in the half-court on just 10% of his possessions, as opposed to 27% in transition.
Wall's ball-handling skills in tight spaces are currently not up to par with his amazing athleticism. His ability to change speeds and directions when creating his own shot out of a stand-still position is just average right now, as he tends to struggle if he can't just blow by his defender purely with his first step. He overwhelmingly favors driving left (doing so in 71% of his possessions), and is mostly relegated to either passing or pulling up off the dribble if forced to drove right.
How good of prospect is he?
Right now Wall looks about as close to a can't miss prospect as we've evaluated in this our 7th NBA draft.
You know how we always complain about not having a clutch guy to take over games? Yeah.
Most importantly for Wall, he's a clutch player who isn't afraid to take over when the game is on the line. In virtually every scenario, he's the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Athleticism, and unselfishness, and killer instinct, oh my!
Wall may be the best athlete I've ever seen. Get him in the NBA game and I don't think anyone will be able to guard him.
I think Wall will mature in his decision making. The raw abilities are there. He sees the floor really well and is unselfish. The one attribute that really sets Wall apart is the killer instinct. How many times has he taken over a game in the last few minutes when Kentucky really needs him. That's one of the reasons scouts love him. Star players do that and Wall has proven as a freshman he can and will do it.
Is Wall a prima dona with an attitude problem? This is the first negative I've read about John Wall, in terms of off-the-court stuff. It's probably not a big a deal, but something to keep an eye on.
Wall's approach has been a little more whiny than you'd like in a No. 1 pick, as evidenced by his recent remarks to a local television station about his strained relationship with coach John Calipari.
"He said I played awful," Wall said. "I didn't think I played that bad. I don't know what to expect. He's probably going to say I played bad today, too, so I don't know. I just try not to listen to him and go out and play basketball and try and help my team win."
Clearly he's not used to getting criticized.
"I think it's going to bother any player when he tells you that," Wall continued. "To be honest, I really haven't been having fun for the last two weeks. It's just being frustrated and things like that, so I just got to figure it out before we go further in league play."
Two days later, Wall backed off his tough comments about Calipari, citing frustration.
"When you are frustrated, you say things you don't mean," Wall said. "We sat down and talked about it, and I realized after I watched the film that I did play bad. I had a lot of turnovers and didn't lead the team like I was supposed to."
Calipari told Wall that every point guard -- including former college stars Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, whom Calipari coached at Memphis -- struggles at some point during his career.
"The main thing is to listen to Coach. He knows what he is doing," Wall said. "Derrick and Tyreke are doing great in the NBA. He said for me to call those guys if I need some advice, since they have been through the same thing."
You say jump, he'll ask how high.
Yes, John Wall is that good. Superman good. Right off the bat, he's the fastest player I've ever seen. With the ball, without the ball, dribbling ... just the fastest ever, and with super-human quickness to go with it. Speedy Gonzales on a caffeine rush. To say he has a "quick" first step is an understatement ... and oh yeah, he has an incredibly explosive 43½-inch vertical leap, too.
Does Wall have good enough form to be a consistent jump-shooter? Or is he doomed like Andre Iguodala?
He has nice form on his jump shot, with great elevation and a high release and consistent follow through. He makes a good percentage of his shots (50%) including 3-pointers (33%). Still, that part of his game could use a little work. He's excellent shooting from a pick and roll situation and off the dribble, but less steady on catch and shoot situations. Extending his range to the NBA 3-point line will make him just about unstoppable.
Could Wall, Jrue, Andre, and Sammy be the best defensive foursome in the NBA?
Although he's great on-the-ball, he tends to relax on defense off the ball. Like all young players, he has a tendency to reach, and that could get him in trouble at the next level. He's also not very good at fighting through screens - another problem he'll have to address before he can be anointed a "great" defender in the NBA. But make no mistake, Wall is NO Derrick Rose. He will eventually be an elite defender in the NBA.
Kentucky fans loved -- and still love -- John Wall. It's always a good sign when people who watched and rooted for a player on a regular basis, have nothing but good things to say.
- John Gasaway from Basketball Prospectus on how good John Wall is.
- Kevin Pelton from Basketball Prospectus: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love John Wall.
John Wall on Twitter:
Worst Case: 6-4 Version Of Kyle Lowry
I'd be ecstatic if the Sixers landed the number one pick and drafted John Wall. I know the team needs a shooter and a big man, neither of which describe John Wall. And I know they already have a young point guard in Holiday, but if they're blessed with the number one pick they have to take Wall. He's that good of a prospect. You want to talk about winning the lottery. Selecting John Wall would mean so much to this floundering franchise, and the uproar from the fan-base if they chose Turner or Favors instead, would be unbearable. Draft Wall first, figure everything out later.
Next up: Evan Turner