How would John Wall fit into Mike D’Antoni’s system
Would D’Antoni be a good fit in the nations capitals? After going 121-167 D’Antoni and the New York Knicks decided to part ways with the offensive guru stepping down. Obviously things didn’t work out on Broadway but were talking about a coach who reached two Western Conference finals and won a coach of the year award in Phoenix. It’s not that D’Antoni all of a sudden became a bad coach; Carmelo Anthony and company just didn’t buy into his system.
D’Antoni’s offense focuses on pick-and-rolls and quick ball movement. The up-temp style relies on quick and athletic players who can outrun and out-shoot their opponents. It’s been dubbed “Seven Seconds or Less.” The system begins and ends with the point guard. Can you imagine John Wall playing pilot to this high-flying offense? Lesser point guards have been successful running this system. Chris Duhon set a Knicks franchise record with 22 assists in a game and over a 10-game stretch Jeremy Lin looked like the second coming of Steve Nash. Speaking of Nash, under D’Antoni he made basketball fun to watch again while snagging back-to-back MVP awards.
Will Wall have to improve his decision-making and work to develop a jump shot? Absolutely. But this system worked in Phoenix because Nash was surround with a perfect compliment of players. Quentin Richardson was a designated three-point specialist. Boris Diaw played an undersized center where he took slower defenders off the dribble. Leandro Barbosa was a pedal to the medal speedster off the bench. Raja Bell was the one player who focused on defense but he was also able to knock down open three pointers. Shawn Marion was an ultra-athletic forward who attacked the rim and blocked shots. Then of course there was Amare Stoudemire who was a perennial All-Star playing under D’Antoni in Phoenix.
The Wizards are in the lottery once again but let’s look at how their current roster could fit into this system. Obviously Wall plays the roll of Nash. If the Wizards bring back Andray Blatche plug him into Diaw’s roll. Washington selected Jan Vesely No. 6 overall last June and the Wizards could only hope he learns to score without plays being run for him just like Marion did.
Chris Singleton could play the roll of wing defender (although he would really have to work on this jumper this offseason). While he’s currently starting at shooting guard I think Jordan Crawford is better suited for the role of sixth man. Similar to Louis Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers, Crawford could actually lead the Wizards in scoring despite coming off the bench. In trading for Nene the Wizards finally have a legitimate low post threat to pair with Wall. Add another lottery pick to that nucleus and the Wizards could be on to something.
It’s fair to say this is a stretch but keep in mind those players in Phoenix weren’t household names before playing with D’Antoni. At the very least the Wizards would be exciting to watch again.