Sunday, January 9, 2011

John Wall already a star for Wizards

Two years ago, John Wall was running the point for Word of God in Raleigh. Saturday night, he was the No. 1 pick for Washington Wizards and playing at Time Warner Arena in Charlotte.

The Bobcats won 104-89, but watching from midcourt, it was clear Wall is already one of the best players in the NBA. He had 16 points and 11 assists and played a fluid, confident game. Wall is explosive on the break but plays for a poor Wizards team with few players to build around. In watching the game, Wall almost seemed like Magic Johnson with Kareem and Worthy and all the parts that made him so great.

Wall is not Magic, of course, but he is electric, and his game is only going to improve. Charlotte's D.J. Augustin had 20 points and nine assists but, if you watched the game, Augustin did little impressive. He looked like a run-of-the-mill NBA guard while Wall was a star.

Two other points about the game jumped out. Gerald Wallace was out for Charlotte and Gerald Henderson of Duke started in his place. Henderson did not do much as a rookie, but he played hard, and well, against Washington. As expected, he hustled on defense, but he also shot with confidence and looked like a guy who will be in the NBA a while. Henderson finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

By the way, the Bobcats also have former Duke signee Shaun Livingstone coming off the bench at point guard. Livingstone was one of the top players in the country but skipped college for the NBA, and you can see in his game how much he is missing. Livingstone is a miserable defensive player - rarely hustling on defense, always seemeing a step behind - and had seven points in backup duty for Charlotte.

Watching him, you couldn't help but wonder how much better he would be if he'd spent two years honing his game in the ACC.

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