Although the LA Clippers are bereft of any NBA titles, the franchise wholeheartedly believes that they are firmly entrenched in the championship picture. Last season, even with Kawhi Leonard missing the entire year with a torn ACL, and despite Paul George missing 51 games with torn ligaments in his right elbow, LA fought tooth and nail on a nightly basis, resulting in 42 victories.
A seething Clippers team watched from the sidelines as the postseason ensued without them taking part. But, regardless of their injury-riddled year, LA is pushing all the right buttons to ensure the 2022-23 season is a memorable one. In addition to a fully fit roster next year, the Clippers have officially snagged what could be the final piece of a championship puzzle in John Wall.
A listless and frustrated Wall took in the sites from his palatial estate as he was unable to compete for the entirety of the 2021-22 league year. With the Houston Rockets placing a priority on the development of their younger talent, Wall was essentially the odd man out.
Though his bank account was fattened considerably, Wall longed to play. Now, with the former five-time All-Star reaching a buyout with Houston and inking a two-year deal, worth $13.2 million with the LA Clippers, he’ll officially return to the court as a full-time player.
What does John Wall bring to the Clippers and how will he improve them?
At his best, Wall was a franchise star, a role he proudly embraced during his time as a Washington Wizard. While stellar regular season records and deep playoff runs seldom occurred, Wall had established himself as one of the premier point guards in the entire association.
In nine seasons donning a Wizards uniform, Wall averaged 19.1 points, 9.1 assists, and 1.7 steals while being named to five All-Star Games. At this point, his normally blurring speed might be a tad bit slower and his high flying finishes around the rim may have transformed to more basic layups, still, Wall has shown to be a game changer, even with several catastrophic injuries robbing him of athletic prime.
During the 2020-21 season, before Wall and the Houston Rockets were unable to see eye-to-eye, the former All-NBA guard waltzed onto the court in 40 games and left his mark on the lackluster franchise. Wall would go on to average 20.6 points and 6.9 assists a night.
As Clipper Nation begins salivating over his soon-to-be exploits in the white, red, and blue, they’ll benefit enormously from his presence. This past season, with Reggie Jackson mostly running the show, the talented yet vagarious point guard struggled with upping the tempo as the Clippers finished 25th in the league in pace.
Coach Ty Lue will empower Wall to snag the ball off the rim, push it ahead, and either finish at the rim or find open teammates. More importantly, outside of his soon-to-be offensive contributions, LA should benefit from Wall on the defensive end as well.
After making an All-NBA team during the 2014-15 season, Wall has averaged 1.7 steals per game and has racked up 23.6 defensive win shares during his career.
In terms of how we see Wall’s impact on the Clippers overall and their grade for nabbing him in free agency, until Wall proves that his best days are behind, the franchise deserves high marks for getting their hands on a player who’s still more than capable of pouring in All-Star level production.