Saturday, September 18th, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  75 responses

Top 50: John Wall, no. 47

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach

“What?! You can’t put a rookie on this list! He’s done nothing!”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. If this is how you feel, just stop. Here at SLAMonline we believe John Wall not only belongs in the Top 50, but also could end up being much higher on the list by season’s end. The SLAMily thinks Wall will join (and possibly even surpass) the upper echelon of young point guards in the League. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans and BranJohn Walldon Jennings. Wall’s name will fit-in seamlessly with this group.

Nobody likes to give a rookie too much credit before they’ve even met Dick Bavetta. But we’ve stared into our crystal ball and we see a Wizard with a 6-9 wingspan collecting a defensive rebound, flying past everybody on the court, and finger rolling at the front of the rim. Something like ’96 when Allen Iverson first stepped on to the NBA hardwood with a speed that seemed new to people’s eyes. Wall is going to invigorate basketball in Washington DC and keep the Verizon Center buzzin’ all season long.

The Wizards sure lucked out when Irene Pollin, wife of beloved former owner Abe Pollin (who passed away last November), accepted the grand prize at the NBA Draft Lottery in May. It was exactly what new owner Ted Leonsis needed to pick the franchise up after a catastrophic season, in which not only the owner died but also their superstar Gilbert Arenas briefly lost his mind. After everything swiftly unraveled, team leaders Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were traded away.

Wall joins AI and Rose as the only guards drafted No. 1 overall in the last 30 years. There won’t ever be another AI, but many have closely compared the two former John Calipari recruits. They have very similar repertoires. Both can pull-up and nail the elbow J. Their running floaters in the lane are dropping. They each execute the fast break at a pace quicker than most people can conjure a basic thought. Some say Wall is “Rose with charisma.” Yes, Wall is the one much more likely to create a worldwide dance party or to simply do the Dougie. Anyway you look at it, they’ll probably be the fastest two guys in the League next season. So go ahead and circle the dates that the Bulls and Wizards face-off right now: November 13, December 22, February 28 and March 15.

We got a taste of how the NBA version of Wall would look during the Las Vegas Summer League, in which he was named Most Outstanding Player, averaging 23.5 points and 7.8 assists in four games. He turned the ball over 16 times in the first two games so he’ll have to be more careful with the rock. He also has some improving to do on his outside shot as he was off-target on 7 of the 8 threes he attempted. A number of his dimes went to Wizards center JaVale McGee who is one of the young players coach Flip Saunders has to build around Wall. The team looks fit to push the tempo with athletic players at every position. The most challenging thing for Saunders will be to prevent three-time All-Star and former face of the franchise Arenas from dominating the ball. Something tells me that won’t be an easy thing to do, but hey, Gil did change his number for the upcoming season so maybe Agent 9 is more willing to play a secondary role.

Number 47 seemed like a safe place to put a rookie on this list. As previously mentioned, you can’t go giving a rookie too much, too early. But this will probably be the last time John Wall is ranked No. 47 on any list.

Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • JTaylor21

    This seems like a good spot for dude, people please remember that he’s going to have more of an impact than Ray Ray. Now EVERYBODY has to do the John Wall dance before they comment.

  • Twitter.com/Tariq8442

    How is he a top 50 player and hasn’t played a game yet especially over players like Ray Allen Lamar Odom and Gilbert Arenas

  • LeoneL

    Projections Tariq…I never read much into this ranking anyway, it’s just good write up day after day (well, most of the time)from SLAM to get me through this offseason.

  • louisianimal

    and let the hate begin…

  • NicktheQuick

    Who wins in a sprint between Devin Harris, Ty Lawson and John Wall?

  • Josh

    Obviously the contributors to this list feel like Washington’s stars, Arenas and Wall, are going to co-exist peacefully. All it is going to take for this to fall apart is for Arenas to get selfish or for Wall to keep his turnovers to high and lose confidence in the eyes of Gilbert, and I don’t think that is to much too expect from these guys. Interesting ranking, for Washington’s sake I hope you’re right.

  • Rayme Billy

    This is trash! Ain’t no way he a top 50 player yet

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    Where is Anna…??(They say that Anna is in China….)

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Giannis. do you have to post that in every thread?

  • Karl

    Who the hell is this Anna? I don’t understand your twist on names as a joke. Allen sounds nothing like Anna…

  • jk light

    he compares A.I. to Anna Kurnikova but his act gets real boring.
    Sometimes he brings logical arguments if he wants to but most of the time he just wants to get on the nerves of most her.

  • jer

    are you kidding me. the kid hasnt even played a game of ball and u put him ahead of odom and ray allen..are u saying right now he’s better..u got to be kidding me. i also remember last year you left yao out of the top 50 because he didnt play a single game. are u going to be leaving him out again this year while putting wall in the top 50. quite contradictory considering how this year u put in a player that has yet to play a game of ball. imagine if he did a oden/griffin. i like the kid though. but to put him on here is abit ridiculous

  • http://www.slamonline.com Charles Peach

    @jer: Keep in mind – these are predictions. We predict that he’s going to slightly outperform Odom and Ray Allen this season.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    So there are 12 more point guards to come huh? In no order- Paul, Williams, Nash, Nelson, Parker, Brooks, Rondo, Evans, Billups, Rose, Westbrook, Jennings. Which means that Jason Kidd misses out. So does Devin Harris, which just cant be right. So, I already think this list is flawed unless Evans is considered a 2.

  • JTaylor21

    Thank you Charles, some people just can’t read so they just skip through the article and type BS. Wall is more important to his team success and will have a better year than those before him. He’s like DRose expect taller, he’s faster, a better passer, and I believe that he will have a better rookie season than DRose’s.

  • http://Wizards?! Jos

    He will rock this league from the start! He most probably will not be very efficient . Make no mistake about this is the fasted dude in the league period. He’ll out sprint guys like Harris with his eyes closed! On sport science
    they measured him and he is flat out faster WITH the ball than KD is without it…

  • http://www.dontevenreply.com total scrotal implosion

    The ai comparisons are assinine. Rose is not even close to fastest in the league. Wall will shoot about 40% to go with 4 turnovers a game. But he will develop nicely

  • bashmo

    yeah, this don’t make sense. You guys at SLAM can believe that Wall will have an impact on the wizards organization and maybe even rookie of the year, but this young man has not played an NBA game in his life!!

    So why put him ahead of Ray Allen, who had a good season with the celtics (16ppg)? It doesnt make any sense, Ray is a very solid player and to put a rookie who has not accomplished anything yet or even played in an nba game yet seems very biased.

    If John Wall fails in his rookie season, its gonna be veryyyyyyyyyyy funny. I will remember this article

  • matt(ballislife

    how can you consider a comparison of AI and John Wall? AI was a completely different player. He was the heart and soul of his team offensively and defensively when he was with the Sixers. I think it’s far too early to say something like that. Your talking about one of the best players to ever play in the NBA.

    As for the top 50, I’d say it’s necessary to put him there. I don’t think you’ll be able to do the chris paul, rajon rondo, and deron williams same sentence line though. Jennings, Evans and Rose possibly but definitely not the first 3.

  • matt(ballislife


    There’s no way you can say Wall is faster than Rose. Rose is already one of the fastest PG’s in the league. His acceleration is insane. Wall is definitely fast but not Drose fast

  • rich

    ive always thought wall was faster but rose is more explosive meaning first step and quickness

  • JTaylor21

    @matt, trust me when I say that Wall’s faster than DRose. You must have missed the entire summer league when he was just blowing past people like they had cement shoes on, I know that’s just summer league but dude was road runner fast. DRose is quicker but Wall is definitely faster and will have a better rookie season.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    @karl,jk,nick,etc….:i am proud of this comparison. I tried really hard to find somebody else in the world of sports who has achieved what our cute “answer” achieved (meaning: almost global stardom WITHOUT winning ANYTHING, NOWHERE,NEVER.) and Anna Kournikova is the closest thing i could find. If somebody else can find something better i would really apreciate.all started when SLAM 3 years ago put one of the all time greats who HAS WON, EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE(MANU) under(!!!!) somebody who is his exact opposite (never won nothing, nowhere,never…), under a bball nobody.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    and since you are talking about Wall being fast….do i have to remind you who was then measured to be “the fastest ever from line to line” 15 years ago entering the league..???? Yeap, it was our beloved Anna!!!! Sinceriely hope Wall doesn’t have the same career…

  • tavoris

    1)Rose is one of the fastest players in the world WITH THE BALL.
    2)Wall is probably faster. Not by much, but he seems to cover ground like Lebron does.
    3)Wall will have free reign on the Wizards offense, and will have plenty of young athletes to throw the ball to. It won’t be a stretch to see numbers like Chris Paul’s rookie year.

  • tavoris

    Greek guy is STILL talking about a player who isn’t even playing anymore.
    Is it because your hometown heroes got their butts ROASTED in the Worlds?

  • JTaylor21

    @Giannis, please you are starting to sound idiotic, Manu Freaking Ginoooooobili is an all-time great, HA HA HA HA HA very funny. AI is way better than I’m not even the second best player on my team Ginoblii and it’s not even close. AI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Ginobli any day.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=oly&pcode=AQU GIANNIS BOUROUSIS

    “AI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Ginobli any day. ”

    yeap, that’s my kids!!!! (but i ain’t giving up, no good parent does so.)
    @tavorisjukai…: DALE ELLIS!!!!!

  • tavoris

    JTaylor-I’m a fan of my man Bubbachuck too, but the gap isn’t really that wide. Manu’s numbers are low because his minutes have always been kept down. However, he really is as skilled as any SG who’s played in the last decade.

  • JTaylor21

    @Tavoris, and why are his minutes kept low? Is it maybe because he’s not durable, consistent, and GOOD enough to be playing 36-40 minutes every game. Those are the reasons why Pops keeps his minutes low not the pop “loves him coming of the bench” excuse I know that people will use.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose


  • tavoris

    @JTaylor-it’s because he was somewhat old as a rookie, but Pop has always tried to keep Manu under 30 minutes per game. It’s definitely not because of a limitation to his game, because he’s held his own against EVERY wing player in the game.

  • tavoris

    Also, Popovich is a master at managing his player’s minutes. Look at Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili’s minutes over their career. How many teams have kept the same core for so long, while maintaining a consistent record or excellence?
    Before u rebut, u must realize that the Spurs have the best winning percentage of ANY sports franchise over the past 13 years.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Charles Peach

    @matt(ballislife – Dude, nobody is comparing Wall to AI… trust me. I clearly state that there will NEVER be another AI. The only comparison to AI’s speed when he was a rookie. That’s it.

  • JTaylor21

    @Tavoris maybe you’re right. I NEVER said that Manu wasn’t good but I just don’t think he’s an all-time great, do you?

  • NicktheQuick

    @JTaylor Some players seem to be made to play that Sixth man role, even when theyre more than capable of playing starter minutes and scoring more points per game. They’re just more effective playing that role. Manu could easily put up bigger numbers on a lesser team so can Jamal Crawford or LO or The Microwave. It’s not necessarily their fragility or inconsistency. Now I didnt say he’s better than AI.

  • tavoris

    @JTaylor-the fact that his role has been minimized for the success of the team makes the answer no. However, if he were getting 35-40 minutes a game, he would clearly be a HOF player.

  • ripslam

    This is ridiculous. I don’t give a crap about his college career, the guy has done NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING, to deserve this spot. Wait till he plays ONE GAME.

  • Red

    Jeremy Lin killed John Wall in summer league, I repeat Jeremy Lin killed John Wall in summer league.

    Nobody is dethroning Derrick Rose anytime soon, that is all.

  • clayton

    how can you not mention steve nash in that upper echelon of point guards sentence???

  • mike

    u best have cuz on the list if u got wall.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    How exactly is John Wall ahead of RAY ALLEN on this list?! Ray Allen is a key component of a championship CONTENDER. Without Ray Allen the Celtics–let me repeat, A CONTENDER–are pretty much finished. Without John Wall the Wizards are… The Wizards. WITH John Wall we aren’t even sure if the Wizards make it to the postseason.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    You match John Wall up against Ray Allen, and the vet Mr. Shuttlesworth is busting that @ss.

  • qasclk

    Talking about sport science, they mentioned that Rajon Rondo has big hands… does that gives him excuse for being such a poor shooter? Like shaq?

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    wth is Giannis talking about????? dude just be quiet until the next international tournament comes around…your input is obviously no longer needed lol

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    way to early to put him ahead of those guys…we’ll see…He had a great summer league, but the NBA is a completely different ball-game. He’ll be guarded and be called to guard some of the best players in the league every night, PG’s just as fast and athletic as him with better overall skills. Give him time

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    way to early to put him ahead of those guys…we’ll see…He had a great summer league, but the NBA is a completely different ball-game. He’ll be guarded and be called to guard some of the best players in the league every night, PG’s just as fast and athletic as him with better overall skills. Give him time

  • Red
  • Pingback: Slam Ranks Arenas, Wall in Top 50 of All NBA Players | Wiz of Awes | A Washington Wizards blog

  • wottywo

    I’m sorry, but he’s ahead of Agent 0? And how many games has he played in? Oh yea 0. I understand that is a guess on how his impact will be in the NBA. But do you really think Agent 0 is going to take the back seat and let John do his thing? Agent 0 is going for 25 points per game.

  • elvis Freshly

    yall done put Wall in the top 50.. ok I’m done now…. i’ve read the last 3 and now it’s just getting ridiculous

  • Maya Laku


  • JTaylor21

    Damn, there are some pea brained bustas commenting on this post.

  • The Lord of Nsam (formerly known as Fresh Prince)

    Waoh! 2 compare AI 2 Anna Kournikova is INSANE in my opinion… I mean which world r we living in where any1 can come on the Internet and say kkdtoro (french pronounciation). I.N.S.A.N.E!

  • lol

    He hasnt even played a game yet and hes in the top 50? wow. over ray ray, one of th best shooters of all time? wow. over gilbert arenas, the only player to drop 60 on kobe? wow.

  • tavoris

    The Lord of Nsam (formerly known as Fresh Prince)-he thinks people are offended at his comparisons. It’s silly actually, esp since he’s obviously bitter than all his “Best team in the world” bullish was proven to be rubble this summer.

  • Red

    Yes JT you are an idiot

  • wottywo

    All I’m saying is Arenas is good for 25 points per game. John wall isn’t going to hit 25 points per game. If you believe that then he will have a better scoring season then Lebron and Carmelo.

  • wottywo

    I meant a better rookie season the Lebron and Carmelo.

  • snuff

    should not have put him ahead of allen and odom. those two guys should have been ahead, even if they seem to be declining. its ok for wall to be around the top 40 mark, but still not ahead of those two guys.

  • JoeMaMa

    if we’re putting John Wall here on potential…then I await Blake Griffin’s inclusion. Because he freaking DOMINATED the NCAA before he left for the league, where he tore up the summer leagues. Blake Griffin will have an easier time this year than John Wall, who’s sharing the pill with Arenas and who has to adjust to the hardest position in the league. So, yeah…BLAKE GRIFFIN.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    dude will silence some doubters

  • Dutch Hoopfan

    One might question putting him ahead of Allen and Arenas and i am not sure if he should but if he is 47, no other rookie should be in this list at all!

  • Slips

    There simply isn’t any logic behind ranking rookies with NBA players when they haven’t played in the NBA yet. Just doesn’t make any sense. The writer’s basically just forcing the issue.

  • Atrain

    well this is stupid

  • http://www.fanduel.com Alex

    Charles – Can’t figure out how to reach you directly. I’d like to invite you to participate in an experts league (with cash prizes). Email me at alex@fanduel.com and I’ll send the details. -Alex

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  • cj

    dude hasnt even played an nba game yet and hes already cracking the top 50. if wall makes the list WHERE THE HELL IS GRIFFIN???

  • http://www.bunzl.com.au OZ Baller

    I agree, Blake Griffin will be ROY this year!

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  • http://www.thingsaboutmyworld.blogspot.com John Wall -fan