SH Blog: Josh Smith, Ben Gordon Trade Rumors; Oden to Cleveland? And The New John Wall

He is averaging a modest 14.6 points and 7 assists in 15 games since returning from injury, but improving each night, averaging 16/8/5 in February and 19/9/4 per 36 minutes. 

Although his 42 percent from the field needs improvement, Wall is working to get the game repetitions he needs to make it happen and no longer becomes discouraged after a miss or three.

After all, Wall isn’t the first guard to enter the league that needed to develop a consistent jump shot – Johnson and Jason Kidd can both attest to that. 

Kidd entered the league with unequivocal speed and no jumper like Wall. He flew up and down the court and was always two steps ahead of the game but struggled at times to score the ball.

Today, Kidd is third all-time in 3-pointers, but there was a reason his nickname used to be “Ason,” because he had no J.

“I see some of the quickness and getting steals and those seams,” Johnson said. “The only thing left for him is that pull-up shot. That’s the only thing left. Once he gets consistent with that, he’ll be an All-Atar every year.”

In an era that rewards point guards, Wall seems to be forgotten. He’s suffered through chronic losing, coaching changes, injuries and dysfunctional teammates. Two-years after drafting Wall, the Wizards decided to rebuild again.

This time, however, they hope it’s around him.

One for the road

  • The Indiana Pacers have won five in a row and completed a 3-0 back-to-back-to-back gauntlet earlier this week. They’ve beaten the Miami Heat twice this season, but are they a legitimate threat to win the Eastern Conference? I take a closer look on what it will take: Despite lacking Miami and New York’s flair for the spectacular, Indy is among the top half of the league in offensive efficiency and is a bruising, long-armed, in-your-face force on the defensive end – first in the league. While their core has stayed the same, the Pacers made the in-house improvements that were expected – and required – of them to take a step forward this season.

Ben Baroff is an aspiring sports journalist and marketing professional who blogs and writes columns for Follow him on Twitter.