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A Conversation About John Wall on the Occasion of Bradley Beal’s All-Star Selection

Washington’s sparring guards, a defense of Michael Redd, and a lot of despair from our Wizards contingent

Tuesday morning’s news that Bradley Beal had been named to his first All-Star team before the announcement that Wizards alpha John Wall made it as well, along with news that there has been discord in the team’s locker room, sparked a discussion in the Ringer’s NBA Slack channel about the merits of Washington’s guards and the direction of the Wizards. Does the team need to consider trading one of its stars? Is Bradley Beal the next Michael Redd?

Staffers talked out these questions and more on Tuesday afternoon.


Kevin O’Connor: Brad Beal > John Wall.

Paolo Uggetti: [Extremely Stephen A. voice.] I’ve often said that.

Jonathan Tjarks: All things equal, you pretty much always take the better shooter these days.

O’Connor: Who would want to pay $200 million to an injury-prone, inefficient half-court scorer? John Wall is the most overrated superstar in the NBA. If they wanna win a title, they should trade him and save themselves.

Chris Almeida: Hmmmmmmm.

Tommy Alter: Pretty spicy take, Kev.

O’Connor: Wall is a great point guard, don’t get me wrong. But he’s the NBA’s worst great point guard.

Sean Fennessey: Chris Ryan once orchestrated a “Pay John Wall” campaign with Andrew Sharp. I say this is his fault.

Chris Ryan: John Wall is one of my favorite NBA players. Sorry that I don’t get super excited to watch the spiritual heir to Michael Redd play basketball between debilitating injuries.

Ryan O’Hanlon: Life is too short to (1) watch a beloved sports team purposefully be terrible, and (2) dry-hump efficiency. John Wall forever.

Fennessey: John Wall’s career field goal percentage is 43.2. Russell Westbrook’s career field goal percentage is 43.4.

Let me see if I can be more direct. John Wall sucks.

Ryan: Don’t worry, Sean, no one was confused about what you were saying!

Sean Yoo: Sean, do you like any point guards in the NBA?

Juliet Litman: Sean, do you like the NBA?

Fennessey: “Efficiency” does not equal “not sucking.” The goal of the sport is to score and not average four turnovers your whole career because you’re a careless, out-of-control egomaniac. JMT.

Ryan: So you like Tom Brady, then?

Michael Baumann: Tom Brady, the NFL’s greatest game manager?

Fennessey: I think the Michael Redd slander set me off.

Uggetti: Michael Redd did nothing to deserve this.

Danny Chau: That Michael Redd bar was fucking fire.

Jason Concepcion: [Scrolls up for Michael Redd slander.]

Litman: Against Michael Redd: A Life, by Chris Ryan

Bill Simmons: John Wall is Amy Adams: He can be in a good movie; he just can’t be the only one on the poster.

Via Miles Surrey

Concepcion:

Fennessey: Classic Chris “In Cal’s Pocket” Ryan, dapping a big-market, big-school no. 1 overall pick at the expense of the little guy, Columbus, Ohio’s own Michael Redd, a product of The Ohio State University and second-round pick who transformed himself into an All-Star and foresaw the shooting future of the league. Sad that Big City Ryan would attack him so publicly.

From Wikipedia:

Redd, a devout Christian, bought a church building for his father’s ministry as the first purchase after signing his big contract worth $91 million over 6 years. The church was newly named Philadelphia Deliverance Church of Christ built in his hometown of Columbus.

Redd, via NCT Ventures, invested in Azoti, an Ohio startup that connects producers and buyers of food.

Ryan: Sorry that I believe in Rick Telander’s vision of heaven as a playground and want to see basketball as an expressive canvas for our greatest athletes where we celebrate the spiritual heirs to Pete Maravich and Connie Hawkins instead of Ben Affleck from The Accountant.

Simmons: I just want to point out that in 2004 or 2005 I wrote a trade-value column and had Redd as the 26th-best asset in the league.

Rodger Sherman: Michael Redd won a gold medal.

Concepcion: This changes everything.

Miles Surrey: Guys, we were one game away from the conference finals. We would have made it if Kelly Olynyk hadn’t gone supernova.

Almeida: But it’s not great if the 40-year peak of your franchise is making the conference finals once and then getting swept.

Donnie Kwak: We had Michael Jordan (granted, it was Corpse Michael Jordan) and people still didn’t care about the Wiz. Move the franchise back to Baltimore.

Tjarks: I don’t see why people are so quick to try to blow these teams up. You’ve seen what the Washington front office is capable of. If they break up Wall, Beal, and Porter, they’re more likely to become Orlando than Philly.

Surrey: I think the Raptors are a good example of why teams shouldn’t freak out early and blow things up. Give it time.

Almeida: Ideally, if they were going to do it, they should have done it before the Beal extension. But at this point, you have to stay the course.

Justin Verrier: The Wizards’ strategy has been to make high draft picks and then pay those picks the max whenever possible. That’s it. They literally haven’t done anything else.

Tjarks: The real problem is that Ted Leonsis has never held Ernie Grunfeld accountable or put much pressure on him. It always comes back to ownership.

O’Connor: How do we know he wasn’t held accountable?

Almeida: He still has a job. It’s been 15 years.

Baumann: That’s weird, because Ted Leonsis letting a team stall out after 10 years of second-round playoff exits seems so out of character. (That was a hockey joke.)

Zach Kram: The Wizards also haven’t picked in the first round since the year they acquired Oubre (and just once since Otto Porter). It’s hard to build depth around your max-contract core that way.

Tjarks: That Bojan Bogdanovic deal was particularly heinous.

Almeida: The fan base seemed happy with this at the time, but that was a classic Grunfeld escape. He gets a lot of credit for cleaning up his past mistakes. The team needed to get some serviceable bench players and dump Andrew Nicholson’s contract because Grunfeld lumped those burdens on the franchise in the first place.

Surrey: [Removes Jan Vesely poster from dorm room.]

Joe House: I can’t say anything bad about John Wall. He made the correct call coming out in 2010 (a colossally shitty draft) and getting picked first overall. But the greatest basketball successes he has experienced in his life are … meager. He played a big role on a loaded Kentucky team that mildly underachieved (Round of 8 exit in 2010) and he made a game-winning jumper in Game 6 of last year’s playoffs to force a Game 7. Not much of a winning track record, but the best teammate he has ever had is Boogie.

Tjarks: The best defense of John Wall is that he has depended on John Calipari and Ernie Grunfeld to build his rosters his entire career.