In case you haven’t heard, John Wall got snubbed yet again as he was left off the first, second, and third All-NBA teams. Wall continues to be one of, if not the most overlooked All-Stars in the NBA when it comes to awards and accolades. It feels as if most of the national media has ignored his progress as an NBA player and still only thinks of him as a guy who plays at 100 MPH who creates a few flashy plays here and there. Here are the two reasons why Wall doesn’t get the love he deserves.
1. He’s not the most popular athlete in his own city
If you’re not the most popular player in your own city, good luck trying to get the national media to buy in and believe the hype. In Washington, D.C., the most important position in sports is quarterback of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have a combined seven wins in the last two seasons yet it’s Robert Griffin III who is the most talked about athlete in D.C.
The buzz from Alex Ovechkin has worn off and Bryce Harper is still up and coming. RG3 lives under a magnifying glass because D.C. will always be a football town first; no matter how bad the Redskins are. When the Redskins win, the city goes nuts. When the Wizards advance in the playoffs, the city hardly notices.
On the other hand, D.C. natives can’t seem to shake the history of the Wizards franchise. People still associate the Wizards as perennial losers and can’t seem to get over Gilbert Arenas and the cast of clowns during the 2008-2009 seasons.
The interest level for the average D.C. sports fan is in this order:
Different from the other teams, the Wizards have a very niche following in my opinion. I find people are either engrossed with the Wizards, or couldn’t care less about the team. Friends, co-workers, colleagues often talk about casually going to a Nats or Capitals game. Very seldom do I hear a casual D.C. sports fan want to attend a Wizards game. That would explain why attendance was lower from this season to last even though the team was better. The only “Wizard” who could put fans in the seats was Michael Jordan.
Bottom line is, if your own city and local media isn’t showing you love; the national media won’t either.
2. John Wall is not an elite scorer
What do all of the guards who made the first, second, and third All-NBA teams have in common? They are all elite scorers. Wall is a good scorer, but he’s not a great scorer. The NBA is an entertainment league so the players who put up the most points and throw down the flashiest dunks will get all of the attention. Assists are great for team basketball but it’s not sexy for television ratings. Remember how Rondo got very little love in Boston until the end of the Big 3 era?
Of the point guards who made the All-NBA teams, John Wall averages fewer points per game than all of them:
Aside from John Wall and Chris Paul, the other three point guards on this list average above 20+ points per game. Why do casual fans turn on the TV to watch the Thunder, Warriors, Rockets, and Cavs? Because they have All-Stars who can score the basketball. It’s the same reason casual fans did not turn on Hawks or Spurs games during the regular season. There’s no star that consistently scores in large volumes on either of those teams. How many Kawhi Leonard and DeMarre Carroll jerseys do you see people sporting?
As a result of the NBA turning into an entertainment league, the guys who help their teams get better don’t get as much attention. Maybe I’m old school but to me, the purpose of the point guard is to get the team into set plays and create for others. John Wall and Chris Paul were the only two players this season to average 10+ assists per game. In addition to that, the only player on this list to have a better assist/turnover ratio than Wall was Chris Paul. Wall had a better assist to turnover ratio than Westbrook, Curry, and Irving.
Assuming John Wall continues to develop his jump shot and scoring, his recognition will continue to rise. It’s the reason why a player who didn’t make the playoffs this season (Russell Westbrook), and a player who had never made the playoffs before a guy named LeBron James joined his team (Kyrie Irving) are getting the recognition that John Wall isn’t.
It boils down to this; people love entertainment. If your own city doesn’t love you and you can’t score at a level that keeps people glued to the TV; the national media won’t show you that love either.