In his first game as a professional, albeit an unofficial one, John Wall led the Washington Wizards to a win over the Golden State Warriors by a score of 84-79.
Wall was clearly a little rusty/nervous to start the game, trying to do a little too much and looking a bit lost and committing five early mostly unforced turnovers. He quickly gained his bearings though, showing some nice chemistry with his teammates. Wall scored 24 points on 7-15 shooting, dished out 8 assists, and grabbed 2 boards. He had a couple nice anticipation steals and was his typical dazzling self in the open floor.
Wall did finish with 7 turnovers, which was reminiscent of his early games at UK. He spent a great deal of his time talking to Sam Cassell, the Wizards summer coach, who clearly did not enjoy many of his turnovers. The Wizards haven’t had much time to install an offense, so Wall played like he was in the open court when he was really in the half court on a few occasions.
Wall looked best offensively when he was taking it to the basket. He finished adeptly and got to the foul line repeatedly, making 10-11 from the stripe. The Wizards also ran pick and roll with Wall and Javale McGee with some success, resulting in a number of alley oops to the big man.
Wall was also the clear vocal leader on the floor on both the offensive and defensive ends. That comes as no surprise to those of us who watched Wall all last season, but it’s a pleasant development for Wizards fans wondering if he would live up to his first pick pedigree.
All in all, Wall’s debut was a bit up and down, but it resulted in a solid stat line, minus the turnovers, and a win for his club, which is the true measure of a point guard. It was a bit strange and even a little depressing to see John Wall wearing a non-UK jersey, but good to see him taking a next step in his career. It’s going to be a pleasure to watch him in the NBA.
Patrick Patterson also took the floor tonight in Las Vegas. He struggled a bit from the field, scoring just 2 points to go with 7 rebounds. He’s had trouble with his shot since his efficient opener, but I wouldn’t waste too much time worrying about him.