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John Wall admits he played too many charity games last summer

Apr 17, 2012, 4:55 PM EDT

John Wall AP

John Wall seemed to be everywhere last summer (him and Kevin Durant). As summer rec leagues and charity games grew is stature during the lockout — players were not at Summer League, were not working out at team facilities, so they were finding games — Wall crisscrossed the country seeming to show up at everything from Goodman League events to Vegas work out sessions.

And he looked spectacular — in games with spotty defense and a free-flowing style his speed and athleticism stood out. But when the more defined and focused NBA games returned, Wall could not translate those skills and take the step forward some of us expected in his sophomore campaign.

As he looks back on it, he might have handled it differently, something he said to reporters Monday night (after the Wizards beat the Bulls) and picked up by Mike Prada of Bullets Forever.

Q: Did you feel like you were at a disadvantage this year? Nobody had a summer, nobody had much of a training camp, but for a younger player, that would seem to be pretty important.

A: No … I didn’t think I had a disadvantage. I just think that, instead of working out more, I did more of playing in charity events and summer leagues, when I should have been working out more. That’s the only thing I think I should have done differently, but it was a great experience going to different states and venues.

Wall is putting up similar numbers this year compared to his rookie effort (for example 16.5 points per game last year, 16.4 this year) but he is doing it a little more efficiently has he has cut back on the three pointers he doesn’t hit. However, he has not a big step forward. The bigger issue is that his outside shot — which looked fluid when left wide open in summer leagues — is still wildly inaccurate. He is shooting 32 percent from 10-15 feet, 30 percent from 16 feet out to the arc, and 7.9 percent from three this season. He can attack and get to the rim in transition, but teams will just go under the pick and force him to shoot jumpers in the half court until he can prove he can knock those down.

Part of the problem in evaluating Wall is it’s hard to tell how good he would be on a reasonable NBA team. Deron Williams feels bad for Wall. Wall had erratic big men and team that rarely brought consistent effort for his entire career, what happens if he is on a team where he gets real help? I wonder what would have happened if, like Rajon Rondo, he was dropped into a team loaded with veterans who demanded accountability and responsibility, rather than the Wizards?

Wall has to lead the changes he wants to see in the Wizards. He is the star. Which means next summer a lot of time in the gym with a shooting coach and less time on the charity circuit. Time to grow up.

  1. buffalowned - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Too* he played too* many charity games. Your terrible punctuation never ceases to amaze me. Hire an editor. Hell, i will edit for you if you’d like so I don’t have to see numerous grammatical errors in every single article you write.

    • cosanostra71 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      why pay when you all do it for free in every article

      • buffalowned - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        shouldn’t need to be done by readers. it’s supposed to be a professional website for nbc sports. you must be friends with kurt

      • buffalowned - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:04 AM

        i don’t mean to be disrespectful kurt, you are highly knowledgeable about basketball and i enjoy reading your articles. i just think for such a highly respected website you could at least double check your articles or have them peer edited before publishing them.

      • cosanostra71 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:26 AM

        No, I’m not friends with Kurt I just find it amusing you all complain about grammar in every post yet continue to come here. If it bothers you that much you can go to ESPN. Personally, when ESPN’s sensationalism got to the point where it bothered me that much, I came here.

  2. williegault - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Kurt,

    Need an editor? I’ll work free of charge for 6 months… We’ll take it from there.

  3. jimmerg31385 - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    and*

  4. cakemixa - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    “To many.”

    This guy gets paid to put out this brilliant work.

  5. fiyacheef - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Man just get your pro game up or be added to the list of players that look really good in college, come out to early to play the man’s game where your expected to perform night in and night out but cant cut it…. that’s all, get your pro game up. I dont believe the basketball purist want to hear the B.S. about you not being where your supposed to be as if your the only one….yea right!!! every player wont perform like we’d all expect them to and even if you seem ready to any player does not mean you should just up and go pro, so hopefully he’ll grow as a pro.

  6. juanandonly24 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    You guys are ruthless

  7. rajbais - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Yes, but the “extremely reliable” media members said that there would be no season!!!!

    I don’t blame him, but hope he gets rest this summer!!!

  8. abchome - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    You don’t need to play with very smart guys to make more than 42% of your shots…

  9. caps247 - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    This is a professional sports BLOG. That’s why there are inserted jokes/opinions here and there, as well as mistakes.

  10. jvnyj - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    West should have gone all out and given Haywood a Texas chillibowl

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