DC has had its fair share of hyped debuts over the last few years. We have sat and held out collective breath as we wait to see whether picks such as Alex Ovechkin, Stephen Strasburg, and Brian Orakpo will pay off. Last night, the latest Washington first overall pick, John Wall, debuted in front of the home crowd at Verizon Center in a way only he could: by doing the Dougie.
When his name was announced with the starters over the loud speaker at the Phonebooth for the first time, Wall danced out to his teammates: literally. At the encouragement of one of the coaches and some of his teammates, Wall electrified the crowd from before the opening jump ball by gracing us all with his Dougie presence.
And then the game began. Most rookies would get an earful for dancing to their name in just their third game (and various talking heads took their shots the next day) but then again most rookies can’t do what John Wall did, and that’s back it up with his play.
Wall nearly earned himself a triple-double with 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals. He was all over the floor, running the offense and pouncing on turnover opportunities on defense. His 13 assists made him tied for the most assists in a player’s first 3 games in NBA history with 31. One of his 13 assists set up the game-tying 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime.
The game was showcased as a showdown between Wall and the second overall pick, Evan Turner. Wall stole the show. Granted Wall is a starter while Turner is not, and that was reflected in his stats with 9 points, 1 assist and 1 steal in nearly 20 fewer minutes of court time.
Another Wall stat that was not so impressive was his turnovers. He finished with eight, which actually made him on the verge of getting a quadruple-double by the end of the night. Some, like Colin Cowherd, brought out this stat and went off as if after this one bad turnover game Wall will never, ever be able to win a national championship, which is of course ridiculous.
Did John Wall have a phenomenal night? Yes. Is he a rookie? Yes. Are there things he needs to work on? Yes, and Wall said as much in his postgame comments. It’s going to be an adjustment for him, and there’s a reason he’s a potential Rookie of the Year candidate and not a potential MVP candidate.
Turnovers are fixable, and more than made up for them in his steals, making him a +1 of sorts in that category. Turner was a -2 with three turnovers and one steal. It was interesting to see how much Wall is separated from the rest of his draft class talent-wise, and the discussion now turns to who is the better rookie: John Wall or Blake Griffin?
We get the privilege of watching these two duke it out for the rest of the season. The John Wall Era has officially begun, being carried in on the back of the Dougie.