Is John Wall the Next Derrick Rose? And Who Cares?

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Last week, sporting news giant ESPN ran a Q&A with a few local and national writers on What’s Next for John Wall, Wizards? The article tackled a few intriguing questions revolving around the D.C. home team, namely should the team resign Nick Young (definitely), will the club make the playoffs in 2012 and 2013 (no on 2012, yes on 2013) and is John Wall the next Derrick Rose? Local Wiz writers Kyle Weidie and Rashad Mobley, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on their detailed website, www.truthaboutit.net, both answered no. They jointly believe that Wall is definitely talented enough but don’t believe he will be as good as the current MVP, Rose, was last year.

All the talk surrounding the Wizards is, of course, premature considering that we have yet to find out if there will even be a season this year. But for the sake of argument, let’s just pretend we know the season is guaranteed to occur. Is John Wall the next Derrick Rose? It’s a question that’s floated around since Wall hooked up with Rose’s former coach John Calipari on Kentucky’s campus a few years ago. And it’s also a question that just gets tossed around freely as critics continue their ever-lasting quest to compare and contrast players. The argument is clear: Wall will never be the scorer that Rose is but Rose will never be the true point guard that Wall is. True statement; stamp it; seal it; say it repeatedly.

Is Wall better than Rose? Is he faster? Does he jump higher? All questions you’ll find floating along the internet waiting on a life preserver. NBA players are unique in their own ways but our desire for comparing players is a thirst that will forever go unquenched. We’ve measured Jordan to LeBron; Jordan to Kobe; Wilt to Shaq; Penny to Magic; Chris Paul to Deron Williams; and now Wall to Rose. Comparing professionals and their playing styles is a seemingly childish exercise; a blacktop battle that will never be won. Now, if you’re asking will Wall ever reach MVP status, that’s an easier question.

By the time Wall arrived in Washington, he was instantly considered the savior or “Game Changer” as his trademark T-shirt appropriately read. Rarely do you find a 6-foot-4-inch point guard, who if we were grading on video game terms, would have a 99 for speed, a 99 for acceleration and probably a 95 in jumping. Wall’s a freak athlete – it’s been proven, displayed and seen. He has the athleticism to be an elite defender, the moxie to be a movie star and the will to be a winner. Out of a panel of five writers, Weidie was the only one who answered the Wall to Rose question right when he simply stated “he (Wall) is the next himself.”

Washingtonians have a tendency to hype up the hometown professional. Was Gilbert Arenas really that good? If Alex Ovechkin is the best player in hockey, then why can’t the Caps advance past the second round? And no, Clinton Portis was {never} a superstar. And while Wall is far from a finished project, you can just see the potential. It’s something there that has the making of a franchise phenom. Some believe he’s already at that level. Personally, I don’t think he’s even sniffed it yet. Will he ever be a league MVP? Maybe, maybe not. Could he be the next Derrick Rose? No way. But could he be the biggest sports figure to hit Washington, D.C. in the last 20 years? Definitely.