When you looked at the schedule going into the season, the game tonight between the Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls was set to feature two former No. 1 overall picks at point guard. Both John Wall and Derrick Rose were selected first in their draft after being coached by John Calipari for a year.
Rose is a former MVP winner and has led his team to the No. 1 seed in the East twice. Wall has never been to an All-Star game and has never led the Wizards to the postseason. Before this year, many would consider Wall a bust, but not anymore. He promised everyone that he would get Washington to the playoffs and he has been writing the word playoffs on his sneakers all year.
Going into the game Monday, Wall has been averaging 19.6 points and 8.6 assists per game. He is second in the East amongst point guards in scoring, trailing only Kyrie Irving, another No. 1 overall pick. He leads all Eastern Conference players in assists per game and is shooting a career high from the three point line and free throw line.
Rose, on the other hand, is out for the season again and his injuries have forced Chicago into a rebuilding mode. With Rose out, Wall stole the show in the backcourt Monday scoring 19 points with seven assists, five rebounds, four steals and a block in a 102-88 Wizards victory. Bulls point guards Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin combined to go 5-for-21 from the field and turned the ball over nine times.
Even though the Wizards and Bulls are even in the standings, they are two teams and two franchises headed in different directions. The Wizards have a young core they are building around with Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. The Bulls don’t know what version of Rose they will get back, they traded Luol Deng for a player they cut, and have an aging roster.
Going into this season, Rose was considered a franchise player and Wall was still a big question mark. The way things are going, the roles have been reversed and Wall is setting himself up for a big pay day.