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DMA 7-22 Sports


May 21, 2010 10:11 AM

End the Debate: Wizards Must Take Wall

john_wall pic.jpgWashington pro basketball fans naturally have been buzzing this week over Lady Luck's bestowing the hard luck Wizards franchise with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA draft June 24.

The Wizards hit pay dirt Tuesday night - unexpectedly winning the 2010 Draft Lottery and possibly dashing the New Jersey Nets' expectations of a LeBron James-John Wall-Jay-Z trifecta. With ping-pong balls a-bouncing, the Wizards only had a 10.3 percent chance of getting the top choice, but they lucked out.

But in Washington they are debating Evan Turner.

Evan Turner over John Wall with the first pick?

How does the old adage go? "Never look a gift horse in the mouth."

The Wizards have to take the 6-4 Wall, the one-and-done spectacular Kentucky point guard.


Wall is just the prescription for a moribund franchise that finished 26-56 in 2009-2010 - marked by star Gilbert Arenas' locker-room gun incident followed by a season-ending suspension and time in a halfway house; the trades of frontline players Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood in a salary dump; and the death of longtime beloved owner Abe Pollin.

Ohio State's versatile Turner, a 6-7 combo player, is a nice baller, certainly - the consensus national player of the year in college basketball. But Wall is a dynamo who will fill seats and draw in TV viewers. You take him.

Though you get a little nervous with the Wizards having the top pick. In 2001, during the Michael Jordan regime, they took Kwame Brown out of high school - a monumental bust. And you hope team president Ernie Grunfeld won't try to be overly creative. Remember in 2009 when Grunfeld traded away the No. 5 pick to the Timberwolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. Because the season blew up, it turned out to be a deal that made little sense.

The word is Arenas is coming back, but move him to off-guard and put the ball in Wall's hands and let him run the show. Arenas, of course, will always get his points. Plus, with Arenas' troubles, you need another immediate face of the franchise for the upcoming season.

evan-turner-p1.jpgDo you really need Turner, Josh Howard, acquired in the Butler-Haywood deal with Dallas, and returning Andray Blatche?

You hear that Turner will be able play the 1, 2 and 3 positions in the pros But unless he is the second coming of Magic Johnson, you take Wall and hope he can do for the Wizards what point guard Derrick Rose has been doing for the Chicago Bulls after being selected with the top pick in 2008.

As a swingman, is Turner really a LeBron, Dewayne Wade or even Paul Pierce type player?

While the Washington franchise has hit the mark on some draft picks over the years - such as Wes Unseld and Earl "The Pearl Monroe" back in the day -- long-time followers only need to go back to 1984 to be leery about taking a swingman. That was the year the franchise took Wake Forest 6-6 small forward Kenny Green with the 12th overall pick. Green was out of the league in a couple of years. Oh, No. 13 that year was none other than the Mailman, Karl Malone.

One draft Web site, mynbadraft.com, aptly calls Wall "simply a freak athlete ... a combination of Dewayne Wade and Rajon Rondo." Good way to put it.

DC, end the debate. It has to be Wall.

  • DMA 7-22 Sports is a blog about sports in the Washington-Baltimore market, covering amateurs, colleges and pros. The title DMA 7-22? Means "Designated Market Area," per use of media rating services, signifying Washington is the 7th largest media market in the United States, and Baltimore is the 22nd. You can reach M.V. Greene at DMA722Sports@gmail.com

Photos: John Wall, Evan Turner, AP

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