“Wall” Street Value Part Two: Where Should John Wall’s Contract Fall in Point Guard Hierarchy?
In the first part of the “Wall” Street Value series, I delved into John Wall‘s value to the Washington Wizards from a business standpoint. With a verdict that definitively declared Wall unfit for a maximum contract, I was left wondering what other franchises would be willing to offer Wall such a deal. As Brandon Jennings can attest to, the market for point guards isn’t great right now. Traditional big men in the NBA may be a dying breed, but the depth in point guards may be at an all-time high.
Furthermore, even if this era can be considered as a golden age for point guards, keep in mind that the last point guard to win an NBA title as his team’s franchise player was Isaiah Thomas in 1990. That’s not to say that great point guards haven’t been a part of title teams, Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo were the most recent ones. It’s instead to say that they are mere pieces of the puzzle rather than building blocks.
Even in looking at the point guards who are currently on max-deals — Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and now Chris Paul — you’ll find that only Rose is his team’s unquestioned best player. With Rose coming off a torn ACL, this says more about his supporting cast then it does Rose.
While Wall closed out last season playing the best basketball of his brief career, his struggles during his first two seasons should have given Washington plenty of pause when it comes to dishing out max-money to Wall.
Wall’s injuries and inconsistencies drop him a notch below the current crop of max point guards. This leaves him in a class that features recently extended point guards Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry and Ty Lawson, a group whose contracts fell in the $10 to $12 million a year range.
With Wall potentially looking at a $16 million annual salary, it’s quite obvious that Washington missed this memo. In waiting till next summer to sign Wall, Washington could have let the free agent market determine Wall’s value with the Wizards then swooping in to match any offer he received.
With Wall’s track record, it’s doubtful that he would receive a max-deal from potential suitors. And in the event he did, Washington still would be only shelling out a four-year deal instead of five if they matched.
Wall may shake off his injuries and develop a jump shot in the future, enabling him to become a force worthy of a max-contract. But for all intents and purposes, that will have to be on his third NBA contract. For his second one, a four-year deal in the $40 million range sounds about right. This just means that Washington is nearly set on overpaying by a mere $40 million for a player they had no competition for. Typical Wizards, right?
Washington will claim that they’re ahead of the curve and that Wall is deserving. The fact is, though, that the Wizards, in a city with some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, simply jumped the gun. Go figure.