Don’t Be Fooled: John Wall Still The Baddest Dude In The NBA

Dan O'Shea

With all eyes him against the Lakers, John Wall may have disappointed to some degree. He was expected to gut Lonzo Ball at half court of the Staples Center while he made his father, LaVar Ball watch. He was expected to leap into a new atmosphere when it comes to players you have to respect after he finally slayed the beast that is LaVar, but may have fallen short of some standards. Still, just by watching certain plays last night you can tell Wall is not a man to mess around with. Don’t keep your throats exposed around him, because it’s still Wolf Season.

For those of you who do are not from the Washington area or do not follow Wall and his endeavors, he made a claim early this year that it’s Wolf Season. While it may sound like a Teen Wolf marathon that you absolutely do not want to be a part of or a lousy marketing campaign by the Timberwolves to get people interested in their young team, or a campaign for Jacob from “Twilight”, it should be taken as a warning for anybody that crosses Wall’s path this year.

Even though the man is a four-time All-Star and made the All-NBA team for the first time in his career last season, he’s still somehow underrated. He believes he’s the best player at his position, if not one of the best players in the entire league. To prove it to everyone, Wall understood he had to be in attack mode no matter what quarter it was or who stood in front of him.

As you can see by the bodies that litter the NBA, Wall has created his own graveyard throughout this short season, ending the lives of anybody who is foolish enough to try to cover him.

Wall’s one mistake against Philadelphia was not yelling “Trust These” and then making the famous Sam Cassell big balls gesture as he walked down the court following that dunk. Other than that, he buried whichever part of the process was in front of him to the tune of 28 points, eight assists, and two blocks. It’s not like Wall was just picking on Philly, as nobody that gets a game check is safe if they cross his path.

He’s in the business of embarrassing every single person in the league, and business is currently booming. He’s even gone out of his way to dig up the corpse of Michael Beasley, stand it up, throw a Knick uniform on it, and then kill it again.

It’s like watching an episode of The Walking Dead with the zombie murders going on in Washington this season.

This brings us to the game against the Lakers. Wolf Season stops for no man and his thirst for blood seemingly can’t be quenched, but the stakes were raised even higher than the lofty bar Wall set for himself when LaVar Ball decided to open his mouth and warn the Wizards. After some comments by Marcin Gortat, Wall decided to make his intentions well known by claiming he’d show “no mercy” to Lonzo Ball.

This wasn’t surprise considering Wall goes for the jugular more than Freddy Kruger, but this was different. He wasn’t just trying to score and put on highlight after highlight. He was trying to take a chainsaw to the Ball family tree.

Lonzo has been deemed a sacrificial lamb many times already in his young career and that’s not something that’s going to change. Yet this matchup was different because everyone knew about Wall’s capabilities on both sides of the court.

That’s where the final result of this matchup becomes blurred. Since the bar was set so high, it’s easy to say Wall lost. He put up a solid 18 points with nine assists, struggling with his shooting along the way with a shockingly low 31% performance as the Wizards fell to the Lakers. Even though Ball was shut down with just six points on 2-11 shooting, that’s not enough to walk away with a win.

Yet at the same time, Wall did exactly what he said he was going to do. He attacked the hoop like he was trying to snatch the life out of Ball and succeeded on multiple occasions.

 

Just because he didn’t peel Ball’s face off and wear it as his own, Hanibal Lecter-style, doesn’t mean he didn’t do exactly what he was planning on doing.

Yes, these highlights lose plenty of meaning because Ball wasn’t completely embarrassed and Wall put up his lowest point total of the season, but it was still a clear sign that Wolf Season is still chugging along. He attacks defenses with such ferocity that you can’t help but worry about the people that happen to be in his way. It seems like a cop-out, but just think of the narrative of the game if these two plays were completed.

It’s these two plays that tell the entire story, and give the folks at home a sign of what to come.

What a player does on the court and how he treats a game can easily be forgotten. Unless they’re gaining an incredible amount of national attention, many incredible performances barely crack your radar while you watch Sports Center over and over. It’s just a good game that moves on without any further recognition, which is completely fine. It just speaks to the fact that Wall has to complete these highlight reel types of plays in order to be given the recognition he clearly deserves.

Those two plays above show that Wall failed to make his final mark on Lonzo Ball, yet still managed to live up to his promise. He showed no mercy towards the rookie, and blew by him a number of times for some fantastic plays but just failed to finish. Instead of focusing on his failure, what should be spoken about is his ability to put himself in that position.

That’s why this game should be considered a victory for the Ball family. In a way, they were lucky. This game should serve as a warning, and should put the rest of the league on watch. You may be hearing LaVar Ball cackle in the distance as he echoes “I told you so” over and over, but the sound you are truly hearing is the league on high alert. Ball walked away from Wolf Season unscathed, but the rest of the league won’t be so lucky.