It's getting towards mid-September. That means it will soon be time for training camp and then some meaningful NBA action in the District. It's been a busy August and it will likely be an even busier September for me so this is likely the only post I'll put out there this month although I'll sneak another one in if I can. If not, I promise to get after it in October again.
Every so often I sit back and think about how great John Wall is. I'm serious. Going into his seventh NBA season (all with the Wizards of course), I'm thinking this guy could be one of the greatest players, if not THE greatest player who has ever played for the Washington Wizards franchise in whatever city and under whatever nickname the team happened to play. Of course, I'm talking statistically here. It's going to be difficult to be the Wizards/Bullets/Zephyrs/Packers G.O.A.T. without a ring won with the home team.
So what do I mean "statistically"? Well literally just that. Have you checked out where John sits after just six seasons, one of which was lockout shortened to just 66 games, on the all time leaderboard for the Wiz? Take a look. On second thought, don't. Just keep reading. Assuming a typical NBA season for John, he'll be our franchise leader in two of the key positive individual statistics. And yes, I say "positive" because at the age of 26 he is already the franchise leader in turnovers (primary ball handlers always are). This (and the two other number one spots he'll occupy in team history by about February 2017 assuming full or moderately full health) is both a testament to how good John is and how bad my favorite hoops team has been since it entered the league in 1961.
I'm only digging so deep here. I'll limit my analysis to the five positive stats that make up a typical (or not so typical) triple double (that is points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals) plus games played and minutes played. I think you'll be surprised if you haven't kept track of this stuff closely. All statistics are regular season only by the way.
Franchise Leader: Wes Unseld (984)
In six seasons with the franchise, John has played in 422 games for the Wizards. That's a long way from Wes Unseld's 984. He'll need more than six more seasons of good health to get even close to the number one spot. Having said that, he stands a very good chance of cracking the top ten in the first half of the 2017-2018 season. If he plays all 82 games this season (and I sincerely hope he does not by his or Scott Brooks' choice) he will have 504 games played all time for the Wiz. Kevin Grevey is 10th in franchise history with 530. Wes is still a long way away.
Franchise Leader: Wes Unseld (35,832)
John has currently logged a total of 15,195 minutes played in a Wizards blue, gold and black or red, white and blue jersey. That's already good enough after almost six seasons for 10th on the all time franchise games played list. If he manages 2,500 minutes this year (a little more than 33 minutes over 75 games which is way less than he's played recently), he'll pass Antawn Jamison for 9th. Up next after that? Juwan Howard at 17,845. If John plays out his contract in good health with a reasonable number of minutes, he'll be number three behind Wes and Elvin Hayes.
Franchise Leader: Elvin Hayes (15,551)
With 7,614 points in his first six campaigns, John is about halfway to the Big E's franchise leading total. He's got a long way to go but it's not unreasonable assuming he re-ups with the Wiz after his current contract expires that he could end up on top of this list. If he manages 1,500 points this year (less than last year's number) he pass Walt Bellamy for seventh on the all time list with Phil Chenier next in his sights. At the end of his current contract he could realistically be challenging Wes Unseld for third place all time.
Franchise Leader: Wes Unseld (13,769)
No way is John ever catching Wes in rebounds. His career high in rebounds was 379 which he achieved last year. If he does that for three more seasons, he'll be nipping at Rick Mahorn's heels in tenth place. While it seems crazy to even have a discussion about John being a franchise leader in rebounding, it should be noted he's already 10th in franchise history in defensive rebounding.
Franchise Leader: Wes Unseld (3,822)
Yes, the Wizards franchise leader in assists is a center. Somehow that makes so much sense for this team. But he won't be for long. As of the beginning of this upcoming season, John is second with 3,779, just 43 behind Wes. So in the fourth, fifth or sixth game John plays this year, he should be the franchise leader. He's likely to stay in that spot for a while considering John's got two more years after this one on his contract and he's been first, second and third in total assists in the NBA over the past three seasons. This is the mark he needs to hold for our franchise and he will pretty soon.
Franchise Leader: Elvin Hayes (1,558)
Just like he's not catching Wes Unseld's rebounds mark, John's also not going to beat out Elvin here. After last year's 59 blocks, John has a total all time of 273. Wes Unseld is sitting at tenth place with 367. He'll catch Wes, but not likely this year. Blocks were only counted as a statistic starting in the 1973-1974 season so we are missing a dozen or so years of franchise history on this statistic.
Franchise Leader: Greg Ballard (762)
For a brief moment during the 2016-2017 NBA season, the Washington Wizards will have four different franchise leaders in the categories of points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. A few months later, they won't because John's going to catch Greg Ballard this year if he plays at least half the season. For the last three years, John has tallied 138 or more steals per season. At 713 in his career right now, he needs just 49 to pass Ballard. Sorry, Greg. Like blocks, steals were not tracked until the '73-'74 season.
I've had the privilege the last six seasons to watch John play night in and night out at Verizon Center from the fourth or fifth row of Section 109. There are about five or six passes John Wall makes per season that absolutely astonish me down at the east end of the building. I think it's appropriate he'll be our franchise leader in that category this year. I'll continue to wear my number 2 home white jersey with pride this season and hopefully for many more to come.