Jacob Raim | Washington
Wizards fans, don't expect to see anybody but
starting at the point guard spot anytime soon. Wall solidified his status as the face of the franchise by inking a long-term deal that will keep him in Washington reportedly through the 2018-19 campaign.
was one which proved just how important Wall was to this Wizards franchise as
the team floundered without him
during the first half of the season and conversely played like a playoff team with Wall in the lineup during the second half. Wall averaged a career-high 18.5 points per game and 44.1 percent from the field to go along with 7.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds. Wall clearly feels ready to take the next step as a player, suggesting that he has the most confidence he has ever had and is rapidly maturing as a player. He said that he used people writing him off after his injury as motivation to come back and play at the level he did last year, which certainly was a big part of him earning his long-term deal.
The deal ensures Wall will continue to be the focal point of the Wizards continued rebuilding effort, which they hope will result in a playoff spot this year. There should be few backcourts in the league that possess the talent of
Wall and his counterpart Bradley Beal
, and when the two of them were on the court together, the Wizards went 16-9. The draft pick of
was also meant to help complement Wall, as a jack-of-all trades type player who can help spread the floor for Wall. This team has been built around Wall to give him the best possible chance of taking this team to their very publicly stated goal of being a playoff team. It's up to Wall to lead them.
Wall recently showed off his athleticism and skill playing at the
Team USA minicamp in Vegas
. During the scrimmage, he scored 10 points, including an incredible put-back dunk in which he beat Anthony Davis and DeAndre Jordan to the ball. Wall's inclusion in the Team USA program is another sign of his growing reputation in the league, and he certainly understood the importance of the opportunity.
From the Official Press Release:
He holds career averages of 16.9 points, 8.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35.8 minutes per game in 184 career games (172 starts). Those numbers place him with Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Chris Paul as the only players in NBA history who have averaged or are currently averaging at least 16 points, eight assists and four rebounds for their career.
Wall, who recently returned from his second consecutive summer as part of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp, is also the fastest player (134 games) in NBA history to reach 2,200 points, 1,000 assists, 600 rebounds, 200 steals and 90 blocks (since steals and blocks became an official stat) and is the fastest active player to reach 900 career assists (111 games).
Last season, Wall averaged a career-high 18.5 points, a team-leading 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 32.7 minutes per game in 49 games (42 starts) after missing the first 33 games of the season due to a stress injury in his left patella. He joined LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only three players in the NBA last season to average at least 22.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals from March 1 through the end of the season. Wall was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played March 11-17 after averaging 24.0 points, 11.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game while shooting .617 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .857 from the line while leading the Wizards to a 3-1 record. He scored a career-high 47 points vs. Memphis on March 25 and became the first player in NBA history to average at least 24 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, two steals, shoot at least .600 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .850 from the line in a four-game span.