Every time John Wall and Evan Turner play against each other, the question is inevitable: Who is the better player as a pro?
The Wizards made Wall the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, ahead of Turner who was taken second by the Philadelphia 76ers.
In his first season as a starter, Turner’s numbers were decent after Sunday’s 90-87 loss at Verizon Center: 14 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists. The Sixers are 8-6 when the guard-forward scores 20 points or more this season. Turner had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in Washington.
Wall has been struggling with his shot and turnovers since returning from a left knee injury to begin his season Jan. 12. He is averaging 13. 9 points, 7.3 assists and shooting just 40.4% from the field.
Because their statistics are close it's a wash, right? Wrong. Numbers only provide a snapshot of the bigger picture, and Wall is tasked with the tougher job of the two. He's the quarterback of the Wizards, responsible for getting everyone involved. He's also the face of the franchise and they have a winning record since he returned Jan. 12 from a knee injury that delayed the start of his season.
Sunday, Wall made spectacular plays in beating the Sixers. There was the 360-degree layup in the first half. Then he hit a pair of free throws and two long-range jump shots in the final 1:33 to secure victory. Turner was invisible.
Turner's ball-handling and ability to create his own shot still are suspect, and even though he has been in the playoffs he can't get full credit for doing so. He was a reserve his first two seasons when the Sixers had All-Star Andre Igoudala. Now they're 23-35.
Wall's shooting accuracy leaves much to be desired, but ball-handling and getting his own shot aren't weaknesses.
“There’s no question who is better," an NBA scout said before Sunday's game. "In my locker room, I’m game-planning around John Wall. I’m not game-planning to stop Evan Turner. That tells you all you need to know about who is better.”