Tuesday October 4, 2010 11:31 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
Sure, he had early jitters in his first NBA preseason game, but once they wore off, Wizards point guard John Wall showed why he was worthy of the top pick in the NBA draft, finishing with 21 points 9 assists and 4 steals in the Wizards 97-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
All those great things you heard about Wall came to light, as he showed off that blazing speed with the ball, the ability to finish on the break and even the mid range jumper in the victory. Wall is equally strong off the dribble with either hand so he is hard to contain defensively. That's what stuck out to me the most tonight, his command of the dribble and his explosiveness to the cup off it. I knew he had speed, but this was ridiculous. Wall told me in training camp he is working on limiting his turnovers and tonight he had just two so that work is paying off.
As for as those questions about Wall and Gilbert Arenas coexisting. They may be laid quickly to rest as both played very well of each other and together. Arenas seemed very content as a spot up shooter and got some nice feeds from Wall as Arenas scored 12 points. As he had hinted in training camp, Coach Flip Saunders went with a three guard alignment, starting Kirk Hinrich alongside Wall and Arenas. Early signs of things to come? Perhaps. But it will be risky when play against bigger teams in the future.
JaVale McGee got the start at center, and he probably solidified that spot as he scored 13 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked 6 shots. Forward Andray Blatche played well as he returns from a broken foot and into game shape as he pumped in 22 points and grabbed five rebounds. Forward Yi Jianlian was impressive off the pine with 11 points. Guard Lester Hudson helped his cause to make the team with the game winning three pointer. And did you notice who was all smiles when Hudson hit the game winner? Yes, one Gil Arenas.
No playing time for Adam Morrison or rookies Trevor Booker and Kevin Saraphin as they got the DNP next to their names but there will be more pre-season games to get a good look at those guys.
Now it is just an exhibition and obviously there is a long way to go but there were some very good signs if you are a Wizards fan and it started with John Wall's performance. He's got game.