Is Evan Turner Set to Surpass John Wall This Season?

Well, the Washington Wizards have just finished their preseason home-and-home series against the Philadelphia 76ers and many questions surround the Wizards as they head in to their season opener December 26th against the New Jersey Nets. But one of the main focuses on the Wizard’s condensed preseason was the battle between the top two picks in the 2010 NBA draft in number one pick John Wall, and number two pick, Evan Turner.

[caption id="attachment_180" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Evan Turner believes he is no comparison to John Wall"][/caption]

How did that battle fare? In round 1 at Verizon Center, Evan Turner finished 5-13 shooting with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in 30 minutes. John Wall was 3-12 shooting with 8 points, 3 assists and 6 turnovers. Not to mention, the 76ers won by 25. Point: Evan Turner.

Round 2 was in Philadelphia and in that game, Evan Turner was 3-5 shooting with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 32 minutes. John Wall was an unimpressive 5-14 shooting with 17 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists. Philadelphia won again, but this time the Wizards showed improvement. I would call it a push.

To Evan Turner, there is no comparison between the two. He said “until I put up or shut up, I wouldn't even compare us” because it would be “disrespectful to John” (Washington Post). It makes sense since Wall did accomplish more in his first season than Turner. He made the NBA Rookie first-team while Turner did not and he would have been a clear shot at rookie of the year if it weren't for an injury to Blake Griffin a year earlier.

John Wall was also asked to do a lot more for the Wizards than Evan Turner was for the 76ers. John Wall was expected to be the face of the franchise, starting from day 1. Evan Turner came off the bench for a good portion of the season. But now, it seems like Evan Turner is ready to take the reins of the Philadelphia 76ers, and if preseason is any indication, he has his team performing at a higher level than the Wizards.

John Wall has a bright future with the Wizards and I haven’t had as much fun watching them since the Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and Gilbert Arenas were tearing it up as the Eddie Jordan-led Wizards held first place in the Eastern Conference back in 2006, even though it was only for about a week.

But John Wall needs to step up, limit turnovers, and shoot better than 30% from the floor like he did in the preseason. A lot of people said the Wizards performed very well in the draft picking up Jan Vesely and Butler standout Shelvin Mack. Add in the new uniforms and this season has “hype” written all over it.

I don’t expect the Wizards to make the playoffs even the slightest bit. But this has to be a big step forward from last year for the sake of Flip Saunders and John Wall’s reputation. How much longer will Ted Leonsis sit back and watch this team lose before making a coaching change? He has to be frustrated by the season the Captials are having so far.

Last season the Wizards finished 23-59. I expect to see improved leadership and maturity from Wall, which I certainly did not see in the preseason, as well as big contributions from Jordan Crawford, Nick Young, and I don’t know if anyone is as happy to see Roger Mason back as I am, because I see a big year from him as well. His experience with the Spurs will help the Wizards a lot in the locker room.

I don’t believe the Wizards should be an eastern powerhouse this year, but I do believe the Wizards will show improvement as each year passes. In this strike-shortened season, a final record of 30-36 is within reason. This would be a large improvement over last year’s record (28% win percentage last season as opposed to the 45.4% win percentage that would be) and it would show the fans that the team is headed in the right direction.

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