Will John Wall equal or surpass Derrick Rose?
Since Magic Johnson was drafted No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979, just one other true point guard has been taken with the top pick.
That player was an unbelievable athlete with endless highlight-reel plays and the kind of upside that rivaled Johnson's. He was a product of John Calipari's dribble-drive offense, and the star of a team that didn't seem to lose, loaded with NBA talent. He was a freshman when he entered the NBA Draft, disproving the ideology that lead guards only ripen with experience.
It's only natural for John Wall to continuously be compared to Derrick Rose, the top pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Wall is the clear favorite to be drafted first overall in 2010 after a marvelous freshman season under Calipari's guidance at Kentucky.
Wall and Rose share the gift of the spectacular, consistently dazzling opponents with show-stopping dunks and passes and crossovers that would make Tim Hardaway proud.
These are special players. What they aren't, then, are identical twins. Despite the common traits and despite the inevitable comparisons, Wall is not Rose, a mistake no team drafting him should make. And maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Rose is, as Denny Green would say, who we thought he was. The Chicago kid landed in his hometown destination, and his performance this past season made it clear: Derrick Rose is a star. He averaged 20.8 points per game in the regular season, then 26.8 and 7.2 rebounds per contest in a five-game playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. His teammates were overmatched, but he belonged.
We've always known Rose to be a prime-time player. His high school team became the first in Chicago public league history to win consecutive state titles. He then carried Memphis to the NCAA Championship game, the alpha dog on a team loaded with college stars. In his two Final Four games, Rose put on a clinic, scoring 43 points with 15 rebounds and 12 assists.
Wall shrugged. In his one year at Kentucky, he put up better numbers (16.6 points and 6.5 assists per game to Rose's 14.9 and 4.7) and led a similarly dominant squad to a similarly impressive record, 35-3 with an Elite Eight loss to a more experienced West Virginia squad.
At this point, there's little doubt Wall deserves to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. His upside is much greater than Ohio State star Evan Turner's, and he's simply better now than anyone else in the draft. Similarly, Rose might not have been as good a college player as Michael Beasley, but he was probably better than anyone else available, and he trumped Beasley in most other regards.
But these are two different players. Wall dominates with his speed. Rarely can one find a player who operates at such a high level while running at full speed. No one can catch this kid on a break, and he may instantly become the fastest player in the NBA, at least with the ball. More impressive, he keeps his peripheral vision broad and is a brilliant passer in the open court.
He's longer and taller than any player who could hope to stay in front of him, and when he is challenged, he generally can simply leap over an opponent. There's no doubting Wall's natural ability. To be precise, Wall can unquestionably do things Rose simply can't.
But Rose was a more polished player coming out of college. While he's got a lot to learn at the defensive end, he's always seemed more interested in it than his younger counterpart. His turnover rate was significantly lower than Wall's, and he operates much more effectively in a half-court set. The NBA is speeding up again, but the remnants of the 1990s remain. You can't win a title on the fast break.
Wall's game reminds me more of Russell Westbrook than Derrick Rose. He's a more natural playmaker than Westbrook, to be sure, but he similarly thrives in the open court. Westbrook's made a case for himself among the NBA's elite point guards, but it's difficult to imagine him carrying a team on a consistent basis, the way Rose lifted the Bulls to the playoffs after a rocky, injured start.
There's nothing John Wall can't do on a basketball court. His length and athleticism indicate that, with the proper focus, he could become an elite defender in the Gary Payton mold. His speed and court vision suggest he may run the fast break with the smoothness and precision of Jason Kidd. His jump shot is smooth enough to suggest he will improve on his 32.5 percent shooting from 3-point range in college.
Still, West Virginia beat Kentucky by playing the Wildcats into a physical scrum. Wall suffered. Unable to use his athleticism to his advantage, he shot just 7-of-18 from the field and committed five turnovers. He appeared visibly frustrated at times, a trait Rose simply does not possess.
Wall's greatest asset, his athleticism, has provided him an overused crutch. Every player in the NBA is athletic, and Wall will not be able to blow by every opponent at the next level.
There is no question John Wall has the talent to dominate in the NBA for years to come. The question is, will he slow down enough to figure it all out?
I totally agree that he plays too fast for himself. I was watching a Kentucky game earlier this year with a friend who doesn't really follow basketball. I told him that number 11 was the clear #1 pick in the draft. After a while he was like 'No way, this kid plays way too out of control.'
He just needs to learn how to use that speed of his, Jennings has the same issue sometimes. That is one of the main differences between Rose and those two guys. Rose seems to be always under control.
As usual, Adi Joseph posted an excellent article. I completely agree with his assessment of taking Wall versus Evan Turner.
As I stated on previous occasions, John Wall is the most physically talented PG I ever saw play college ball. His potential is virtually unlimited.
Of course we know there is a long and difficult path between having potential and eventually reaching a high level of play. There is nothing in John Wall's game nor demeanor that makes me believe he won't be an elite PG in the NBA. Yes he had problems in the WV game but let's remember that he was a 19 year old freshman.
Overall, I think he displayed unbelievable poise and leadership for a freshman who was in the spotlight the entire season. I for one cannot wait to see the evolution of John Wall's NBA career.
I'd concede that Wall is a little faster with the ball than Rose is, but he is not quite the explosive leaper like Derrick is, nor does he have his body control or strength. I can imagine Rose being in the dunk contest, while none of Wall's highlights suggest that he can dunk like Rose. Do you think Wall would've been able to dunk that alley oop pass from John Salmons?
That said, Wall is definitely up there in the "most physically gifted true PG prospect in the last ten years" category along with Rose and Shaun Livingston.
I think Wall is going to be an elite player because despite how out of control he is, and how rough around the edges he was, he was the 2nd best player in college basketball last season/ And that was just barely, to a Junior,in Evan Turner. I think that shows you how good he can become. To be the 2nd best player in the nation, and to be as far from really scratching his surface as he speaks to his potential.
I agree with the article. I've never thought he was all that comparable to Derrick Rose, who plays less upright (which makes him a better change-of-direction athlete), is/was less turnover prone and out of control, and is stronger by a good deal. He's like a Russell Westbrook type player. Maybe even Dwyane Wade.
I also think he will learn to control his game better and will no doubt be a star in the league.
I also like how Adi pointed out that PGs just don't declare after their freshman seasons, although that seems to be the trend now. The way Rose has evolved his game in just 2 years you can argue that he paved the way for these other guys to come out after one season. GM's are more likely to take a 19 or 20 year old and throw them the keys to the team more so now than ever.
between them is the J. Walls looks smooth, while Rose' looks forced. Good luck Pacers in the lottery!
Great article and Great picture... enough said..
The main difference between them being jumpshot is a gross oversimplification. You say smooth, I say weak. Wall's form breaks down from college three, showing very inconsistant form if his feet aren't set and he isn't wide open, and the extra distance in the NBA is only going to hurt. He also isnt as good a finisher as Rose, and no where NEAR Wade. Like a couple smart people said about Rose, Wall is his own player. I can't really compare anyone to him. His strengths are his speed, size, and vision. He weaknesses are his strength, range, and turnover (pace). He will be very good, and very unique for whatever team gets him.
Being a Kentucky fan, I hate to say this, but I feel that Derrick Rose is both more athletic AND more talented than John Wall. Only time will tell, but Rose is still improving and to me, just has more ability. Rose played with the pros in his rookie year as though he was better than 90% of the league - and he got better this year by improving his jump shot. We'll see if Wall can come in next year and play as well.
Derrick Rose is both more athletic and more talented than John Wall. IMO one reason John wall was this hyped was because his freshman class was mediocre and college basketball was down this season not taking anything away from the kid but if he was in the 2007 or 2008 class he would not have gotten this much hype at all with Mayo, B.easy K love, Eric Gordon, Derrick rose, Brandon jennings, Tyreke imo he would have been westbrook. Also we dont know if he is a legit 6'4 until the workouts and what his vert is which i dont think is that high because when i watch him it does not look like he gets high his arms are just freakishly long, also he cant finish llike Rose or change speeds it looks as if he goes to fast and thats it
I think they're athletic in different ways. I think Wall is faster, but Rose is clearly stronger. As far as leaping ability, they're probably roughly equals, but in different ways again. Rose is a great leaper off two legs, but Wall is a bit more traditional, going off one leg for most of his dunks.
Also, I'll remind you that Westbrook was the No. 4 overall pick and, in 164 games (every game he was eligible to play), has averaged 15.7 points, 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. That's not to mention the fact that he was pretty solid in the Lakers series.
Though I doubt anyone would take Westbrook ahead of Rose at this point, I think most people would rather him than Mayo, Beasley, Love, Gordon, Jennings and likely Evans.
Don't forget that he was picked ahead of Love and Gordon, for starters.
i brought up westbrook as an example, when he came out of highschool he wasn't hyped up like durant,oden,conley,young, and etc because those guys in highschool were the top guys,westbrook is a pretty good player and if they did the draft over he would go #2 and as i stated if wall were in the 2007 or 2008 he would not have been talked about like he is now because
1. mayo was hyped since the 7th grade
2. K love was supposed to be the most nba ready player
3. beasley DOMINATED college ball
4.eric gordon went stupid at indiana
5. Derrick rose DOMINATED the ncaa tourney
No offense to wall but he would have been overshadowed by every single one of them and would have been the westbrook of the class no one really talked about him and i really think that would help wall then the large hype surrounding him because if he does not equal or pass rose and evans rookie season's he will be considered a fail and will fade in to the background amongst fans and the media and it will be sad
The only similarities between rose and wall is that they are #1 pick pg's who left as freshman after playing for calipari. Rose is the next wade. Hes not a pg everyone needs to stop pretending he is. hes on another level athletically which no other guard comes near. once he figures out how to shoot the midrange jumper he will average wade-like stats of 25+pts, 5+ reb,7+ assts. Wall is a far more advanced passer then rose and depending on the talent around him will average 10+ assists a game. Either way win-win cause both these guys are gamers and we will all be lucky to see some head to head playoff series with them
I believe Rose is a point guard and also Wade's passing is not that bad also he is a slightly undersized two guard who could play point in spot minutes. Rose can actually play Point all the time but he is forced to score due to his team's limitations and his ability to get in the lane. being a point guard is more than assists. A coach can set up plays that get a certain person assists but it takes a point guard to know how to control the flow of a game and get him teammates in spots to be successful.
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Right on. Chauncey Billups and Andre Miller do not put up high assist numbers but are regarded as highly valuable point guards. Stephon Marbury had above average assist numbers through most of his career but most of his teams were terrible.
I believe they are the same type of players very gifted athletically who have amazing speed and can finish strong. With that said John wall has a better jump shot coming out of collage and his shot is more constant then Rose when he came out of collage. Although coming out of collage Rose was much bigger and strong then Wall he can take much more contact and can finish.
Only time will tell who will be better. But these 2 point guards are my favorite by far