David Falk took a minute from his come-back as an NBA super agent to let everyone know what he thought of John Wall.
First and foremost comes the question as to why Falk-and consequently, his opinion-even matters. David Falk was Michael Jordan’s agent. Additionally, he was sort of the John Calipari of his time, the go-to guy for potential NBA gems. He’d left the agent gig for a little while, but is now back, boasting clients such as Evan Turner.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s be clear: Falk is not a fan of John Wall. In his vilifying opinion, John Wall is nothing more than speedster, an athlete who just happens to know how to dribble a basketball. Though I’m paraphrasing, it’s hard to come away with a different feeling when you read suggestions that “[Wall] doesn’t have a feel for the game…he only knows how to play one speed.”
Never mind that the game is being played at break-neck speeds. Forget that today’s NBA point guards face a musical chairs style shifting of the title “best PG”. Falk doesn’t even see the point in Wall working on perhaps his only weakness:
” You can develop your jump shot all you want, but if you don’t know how to play more than an up-and-down game by the time you’re about 20 as a point guard, the chances of learning are very slim. I don’t see it happening”
Outside of lambasting a star and still-budding NBA talent, Falk did make a slightly poignant point.
“You want to know the reason why just nine teams have won an NBA title in 40 years? Because if both of them came out today, 99 percent of all general managers would still take John Wall instead of Kyrie Irving. They’d take the athlete over the ballplayer. And they’d be wrong.”
It’s an unfortunate trend. A pattern of general managing and scouting missteps that is crowned by skipping on a certain wiry Longhorn.
The Sixers’ Evan Turner is molding his NBA reputation on the foundation of multi-purpose ability. He’s averaging just under 14 ppg, pulling down 6.6 rpg, and even handing out 4.4 apg. He’s a sharp finisher at the rim while also boasting a three-point accuracy nearing the 40% mark. He was also drafted second to John Wall.
Wall’s talent is unquestioned. He’s an imposing athlete on the open court while ranking among the NBA’s elite in finishing power. It’s difficult to fault Washington in putting their franchise on the young PG’s shoulders. With that being said, there’s something to be said of the NBA’s pattern of picking raw talent over multifaceted skill. It’s interesting that between a guy who is elite at an aspect or two and one who is not quite elite but meets and exceeds marks at multiple areas, the former has been picked often over the latter.
In 1987, Phil Ford and Rick Robey picked over Larry Bird. 1986’s draft saw Arvydas Sabonis get picked 26th (injuries and all, still considerably low). Then there’s the Oden over Durant fiasco in 2007, a year that also saw Wilson Chandler-a solid multi dimensional forward- get picked after Nick Young, Corey Brewer, and Rodney Stuckey.
Even below the NBA ranks, the pattern persists: the pogo-leaping Andrew Wiggins (known to struggle with his passing) is ranked over Jabrari Parker (6’8″ do-it-al SF/PF) and Aaron Gordon (same as Parker, but 6’11”).
It’s not that picking the more athletically “imposing” or gifted player over the do-it-all type is some awful strategy, in fact it is a subjective process that sometimes makes picking the raw talent the est decision.It’s just that it’s a pattern worth taking a step back thinking about.
–H/T to The Washington Post
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also an editor at Hoops Nation and contributes to Les Snobs. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim.