John Wall and the Washington Wizards may have dropped their 22nd game in Fridays 106-89 loss to the Miami Heat. But there are valuable lessons to be learned in losing. Wall scored 15 points and handed out 10 assists but he also turned the ball over seven times. These types of ups and downs are part of the learning curve for young NBA players. Just about every player has gone through it, including the trio of All-Stars that now call South Beach home.
The Cleveland Cavaliers didnt make the playoffs in either of LeBron James first two seasons. Chris Bosh didnt make the playoffs until his fourth year and Dwayne Wade didnt become an NBA superstar overnight. Following the game each member of the big three sought out Wall to offer him some words of encouragement.
"Just get better every day and keep working," said Bosh who scored 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in Miamis win." Theres not too much you can tell guys in that situation. Especially as a young guy, you just have to focus every day on learning something new. Be professional and play hard every game. Even though it is tough, thats whats necessary"
Wade and James combined to score Miamis last 18 points of the first half. It was during that critical stretch that the Heat gained control of the game for good. Wall helped bring the Wizards back to within one point on two separate occasions but was unable to lead his team to the upset victory.
"As much pressure as there is, hes a good enough player to be able to handle it," said Wade. "He's a good kid as well. I think hell be fine as long he keeps the mentality this is my franchise. And as he continues to get better and better everyone around him will also get better."
James carried the Cavs on his back for seven seasons before teaming with Bosh and Wade in Miami the summer before last. He knows what its like to have the expectation of leading a team from the lottery to championship contention and he sees a lot of himself in Wall.
"Hes got to keep his head up," said James after scoring 18 points and handing out nine assists. "He's a great player, he's going to be a star in this league for a lot of years. Its definitely tough for him right now. I went through that my first couple years in the NBA. He's got to continue to lead. Even though he's a young guy they take his leadership. He's got to continue to play basketball the right way and try to lead his team."
At only 21-years-old Wall not only has to lead the Wizards on the floor but he has to be the face of the franchise off it as well. James dealt with the same type of pressure in Cleveland and although times are rough for Wall he knows this is what all great players go through.
"Thats someone I look up to," said Wall in speaking of James. "I met him back in high school. Thats very nice to hear. Those two guys probably have been through the same type of situation. One guy has won a championship (Wade) and the other (James) is trying to get there. Thats somewhere I want to be down the road."