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During a conversation about Russell Westbrook, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd was explaining how stats don’t mean everything. His main concern appeared to be whether or not a player ‘makes guys around him better,’ and that’s when John Wall became the topic.
“John Wall has never made a teammate better. (Russell) Westbrook has never made a teammate better. Draymond Green has made every teammate he’s ever played with better…Find me the teammate Westbrook’s made better in his career.,” Cowherd said.
It’s understandable how Wall can be viewed as a player unwilling to adapt, but to suggest he hasn’t made players better? That’s just not an accurate assessment, at least during his prime.
John Wall clapped back via Twitter.
"John Wall has never made a teammate better. [Russell] Westbrook has never made a teammate better. Draymond Green has made every teammate he's ever played with better… Find me the teammate Westbrook's made better in his career."
— Colin Cowherdpic.twitter.com/kYDcTrUykI
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 6, 2022
Lol this guy is a joke ‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️
— John Wall (@JohnWall) June 6, 2022
“Lol this guy is a joke,” Wall wrote followed by exclamation point emojis.
There’s been a few basketball analysts that’ve jumped to Wall’s defense by listing his assist numbers. It’s our first instinct to equate assists with helping teammates score, therefor making inferior talent better — I tend to disagree, though. Assists don’t always mean you’re helping. Perhaps John Wall dominates possessions until he can find a way to accumulate stats? We aren’t suggesting that’s what we saw in Washington our of Wall but it’s absolutely a possibility.
John Wall took a back seat to other stars in the NBA due to injuries and a lack of skill. Not a lack of dribbling or finding paths the rack — an inability to score from distance. Players like Steph Curry, Damian Lillard and even Mike Conley found ways to maximize production from three-point range to create space on the floor for others. That’s what Colin likely means by “making players better.”
Did John Wall help create space for others like Bradley Beal to flourish? Hardly, yet Wall still found ways to amplify production from complimentary pieces like Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter. Those are players not many fans of basketball hear about anymore, and for good reason. They were average players at best producing in large part due to drive-and-kicks from Wall.
Colin Cowherd was on the right track that other players in the game did more to elevate surrounding talent — we can’t sit here and pretend John Wall never made guys better. It’s a barbaric statement.