DC has suddenly become a very crowded sports town in the last six months. Even without what some would call “winning” franchises, the national spotlight has constantly swirled in the direction of the District throughout the fall. Most interestingly, that focus may have finally grown to include a team that has generally been under the radar for a few seasons (at least for its on court performance): the Washington Wizards. The center of the attention is the lucky draw of a lifetime, the #1 pick from the University of Kentucky, guard John Wall.
The impact is set to be huge, and when the NBA GMs were surveyed about their rookie expectations, Wall led almost all of the categories. More than two-thirds of the GMs expect him to win Rookie of the Year, and the same clip also expect him to be the biggest contributor from this rookie class five years down the road. Beyond all that, Wall has the right attitude in the face of these accolades: he’d rather be in the playoffs come April than holding a piece of hardware for individual accomplishments.
It’s worth adding that even ESPN’s Bill Simmons, the Rain Man of professional Basketball, considers the Wizards in the upper part of teams worth watching this season. While listing out clubs for which he’d most like to hold season tickets, there are many obvious selections (Simmons’s hometown Celtics, the Heat, the defending champion Lakers), but registering in the top ten are the Wizards and the Great Wall of Chinatown:
Another thing I can’t wait to see: John Wall jumping the passing lanes, swiping a lazy pass, turning on the jets and going coast-to-coast. Apparently it’s Iverson-esque in person. Throw in spectators yelling awkward gun jokes at Gilbert Arenas, and that’s a can’t-miss game.
Will Wall be as exciting as both the GMs and Simmons think? Washington can only hope. And maybe, just maybe, the guard’s regular season home debut on November 2nd against the Philadelphia 76ers will be the beginning of an era of yet another hot ticket in town.