Many agree with the idea that the Wizards handed John Wall his maximum contract extension based more on promise than to-date production. That's not to say the electric point hasn't had moments of brilliance or performed at a high rate over the second half of last season after returning from injury. There just isn't a resume with All-Star game or postseason appearances, at least not yet for the 2010 NBA Draft No. 1 overall pick.
With that in mind, has Wall shown enough to remain the top prospect from his draft class. If indeed a do-over occurred, would he go No. 1 No. 1?
That's a question NBA.com attempted to answer this week. Upon re-examining that year's lottery selections, their conclusion is there would be a new number one, Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George:
One of the brightest young stars in the league, George made his case for the top spot with a mercurial rise in his first three seasons that culminated with an All-Star nod last season and by battling LeBron James inch-for-inch in an epic seven-game Eastern Conference finals last season. It was a remarkable star turn for a player casual fans had barely heard of on Draft night.
Recently in previewing the Wizards' Top 10 projected games for the upcoming season, I wrote that Golden State's Stephen Curry dominated the early rounds of the playoffs. The same goes for George in the conference championship round. If the Olympics were next summer, the rangy forward with range, hops and defensive skill makes the team. Fair enough.
As for Wall, his "fall" didn't last long.
2. John Wall, PG, Kentucky (No. 1 by Washington)
Plagued by uncertainty and a somewhat suspect supporting cast early on, Wall came on in the second half of the 2012-13 season. He shook off the after effects of knee surgery and played at an All-Star level in the Wizards’ final 49 games. He was the first member of the class to cash in with a five-year, $80 million extension earlier this month.
Next on NBA.com's list, Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, followed by Milwaukee's Larry Sanders and Detroit's Greg Monroe. Greivis Vasquez (Sacramento) came in 10th.
It's funny now, but pundits hammered Wall early last season while he sat with the knee injury. Case in point, ESPN produced a list of the top 25 players under the age of 25 and didn't have Wall on it. George made that cut, along with Cousins, Monroe, Ed Davis and Eric Bledsoe, all members of the 2010 draft class. Talk about a do-over situation.
Suddenly No. 2 doesn't seem so bad.