We Do Have To Consider John Wall As An MVP Candidate

We've heard all year of the possibilities of MVP. Russell Westbrook and his triple-double average. James Harden and his play in the regular season. Kawhi Leonard before he slipped a little bit. Of course you have LeBron and Curry as your usual suspects. And of course, Carmelo Anthony (just kidding!).

But with those players dominating the NBA landscape, almost nothing has been said about one guy in particular: John Wall.

Of course, if you look at those "nuclear numbers" as I call it (the ones only the casual fans have on it such as PPG, RPG, and APG), Westbrook (31.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 10.4 APG) and Harden (29.1, 8.1, 11.2) dominate Ball's numbers (23.1, 4.7, 10.7) so therefore he's not only not considered an MVP by many, but not even talked about.

Bad idea.

In regards to Westbrook, he is the point guard in Oklahoma City, but obviously not the prototypical point guard as he does not have the pass first always mentality. Now we can still debate whether or not he has the talent around him and figure out where they would be without Westbrook (which is probably the Western Conference basement). But you can make a case that the style of play that Oklahoma City may not allow the others to show what they can really do as the offense revolves around Westbrook.

As for Harden, he plays more of a #2 guard and it shows. But he too also can run point (as it shows with the numbers). But again, not a prototypical guy.

John Wall is probably one of the more typical point guards in the NBA though there isn't anything "typical" about him. The point totals are fairly high, but not as high in the sense of he took about 18 shots per game (21% of the team's shots), compared to Westbrook's 24 (27% of team's shots) and Harden's almost 19 (22%). So he does distribute the ball more than Westbrook does.

And the shots he takes are more selective than Westbrook (who it seemed like he jacked up senseless shots, especially when the games were on the line) and at times Harden (trigger happy with the 3, but to an extent I do not have a huge issue with it). But the FG% shows that Wall was more effective with his shots (45%) than either Harden (44%) or Westbrook (42.5%).

Another factor of why I think you have to consider Wall an MVP candidate is the fact of the turnover rate. Of course, all 3 had the highest turnover rate in the league in 2016-2017. That said, Wall averaged 4.1 turnovers per game as opposed to Westbrook's 5.2 TPG and Harden's 5.7. The assist-to-turnover ratio, while none of them really came close to the top 10, Wall was at 28 (2.58)while Harden was at 52 (1.95) and Westbrook at 56 (1.92).

While many do not really think it should count, but when it comes to the 4th quarters and big games, we've seen Westbrook choke far more often with turnovers and missed shots than we see with Harden and Wall (whose shot with 3.5 seconds left forced a Game 7 vs. Boston). So yes, I do think you have to factor on how these players play down the stretch.

The one thing that many will argue is that Wall's defense is sketchy and admittedly so. His defensive +/- is pretty down (-1.26) while Westbrook isn't as down (-.46), but Harden is (-1.69). So this is a hiccup.

But one argument is do we really look at the playoffs? If the MVP voting is close, then yes. Westbrook choked in Game 4 badly and has a history of falling late in games while Harden's Game 6 against San Antonio has gone down as one of the most epic collapses by a player of his caliber in the playoffs. Wall on the other hand, has been a beast in these playoffs, whether it is keeping his team from elimination or being out of a hole (ironically, his worst shooting games were in the WINS the Wizards had; he still created nightmares for the Celtics and in the previous series, the Hawks). Or in Atlnata's case Wall was the guy that put the nail in the Hawks season.

I think when it comes to some, people do not want to look at the numbers heavily and to that I agree to an extent. I think we've gone too scientific with the arguments to an extent (with all sports, not just basketball). But one always uses the logic of "if you pull him off the team, what are they?"

So let's try it.

If you pull off Wall from the Wizards, some will say they still have the likes of Bradley Beal. I think Beal has become a great player in part because of Wall. But would he be the guy to get the Wizards into the playoffs or be THE guy and carry Washington deep into the playoffs? I don't think so. I think they're an under .500 squad and probably not a playoff team in the East.

Harden I think if you pull him off, you would get a playoff team, albeit a bottom rung as there is a good amount of depth with the Rockets all around.

I think we can make a safe assumption the Thunder without Westbrook would be a team that would vie for 50+ losses.

But I also think if there is one point guard that could carry a team deep into the playoffs, I would take Wall over Westbrook. After seeing how he has played, he has shown the right amount of intensity (something many accused Harden lacked in Game 6) but also plays with a cool head (something Westbrook struggles on).

I am not saying John Wall should be a lock for the MVP, but he has had an MVP caliber year just as much as Westbrook and Harden and to not consider him would be a travesty alone.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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