A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

The lack of risk in giving John Wall a maximum contract

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WIth John Wall exploding in March to all-star numbers, the Wizards are fated to give him a maximum contract this summer.

Washington Wizards v/s Philadelphia 76ers Nove...

Washington Wizards v/s Philadelphia 76ers November 23, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia), the Wizards are fated to give him a maximum contract this summer.

Does Wall deserve the max based on his play so far? Of course not. An inefficient 16.8 points/7.7 assists/4.6 rebounds on a poor team, is far from star numbers. The Wizards extending him is a matter of paying for potential and knowing they have to max out Wall to keep him past next summer, whether they wait to extend him or not.

The Wizards giving him the max is still a good move. What it comes down to, is the contract has less risk than it seems. This is because even if Wall doesn’t progress past 16 pt, 7 ast, 5 reb point guard who can’t hit jumpshots, he’ll likely easily be tradeable. Wall has too much pedigree between his massive athletic talents and as a former #1 pick for teams to turn it down. 2-3 years from now, a 24-25 year old Wall will likely still be looked at as a player who can break out to star status, even for a team to give up for value for him. Some teams will believe “He just needs a new situation, the Wizards didn’t develop him right”.

The best analogy is Rudy Gay. Gay’s statistical production couldn’t have been more disappointing after signing his max deal. Yet Memphis had no problem moving Rudy, in fact with Toronto giving up real value in Jose Calderon and Ed Davis to give him a try. This is because Rudy’s star talent is so obvious that it led to trade value instead of the numbers. Wall’s talent and reputation arguably has even more pedigree than Gay’s did as an even more special athletic talent for his position and a former #1 pick. His leash will last for years before he’s seen as a maximum player without trade value.

The one risk is health-related., with Wall sitting out the first half of this season with knee problems. However as far as I know, Wall’s long term health is not expected to be in danger – and health concerns are a risk every team giving out a huge contract has to take.

As for the reward of keeping Wall, it’s clear. If indeed has star potential because his recent shooting surge is a sign of things to come, those players are too hard to find – and after making a leap forward defensively and with Wall in the lineup this season, the team is in fine position to make a leap up in the standing and perhaps start winning games on an Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies caliber level. When comparing risk to reward, unless his knees are damaged goods in their current position maxing out Wall is a near no-brainer.

Written by jr.

March 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Basketball

Tagged with , ,

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