Houston Rockets guard John Wall had himself a throwback game against the LA Clippers on Friday night.
The former no. 1 overall pick finished the game with a box score line that could’ve been plucked from his 2016-17 All-NBA season: 27 points and 13 assists. He even reminded everyone that, in his prime, he was arguably the greatest shot-blocking point guard of all time, closing the game with two swats. He was the fastest player on the floor, and his passing out of pick-and-roll was as on point as ever. He’s developed excellent chemistry with Christian Wood, finding the big man on lobs and overhead passes for six of his 13 dimes.
This sort of play hasn’t been totally out of the ordinary for Wall this season. After missing 164 of a possible 237 games since the 2017-18 season due to heel and achilles injuries, Wall has had a bit of a bounceback year in Houston, averaging 20.4 points and 6.7 assists. The Rockets are by no means a good team, but Wall has been a bright spot considering the Wizards gave the Rockets a first-round pick in exchange for taking on his contract, which many deemed dead salary.
On the broadcast late in the game, Wall could be seen talking and laughing with Paul George. The two had quite a few battles in the Eastern Conference over the years when Wall was with the Wizards and George was with the Pacers, including a tough six-game playoff series in 2014. After the game, I asked George about his relationship with him, and what it’s like to see flashes of the old Wall after his myriad injuries.
Wall and George are both members of the 2010 draft, being selected no.1 and no.10 respectively (current Clipper DeMarcus Cousins went fifth in that draft). The two have both dealt with serious injuries throughout their career.
Here’s hoping that Wall can continue his resurgence, and that George can continue his stellar play (yet another 30+ point performance for him in Friday’s win over Houston).