Unless you’re an Atlanta Hawks fan or Colin Cowherd, you probably enjoyed the hell out of John Wall’s performance in Game 1 of the playoff series between the Hawks and Washington Wizards. Wall was basically a human cheat code en route to a playoff career-high 32 point and 14 assist performance in Washington’s 114-107 victory.
Not that he has many doubters at this point but that game was like a time stamp in which seven-year NBA veteran was confirming to the world that he really is as good as he was supposed to be.
John Wall oh my goodness… pic.twitter.com/MBAR2LeOv9
— Leading NBA ™ (@LeadingNBA_) April 16, 2017
Of course, there was a time when not everyone thought the No. 1 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft would be in this position. Or if they did, those people assumed that drafting Kentucky’s Wall was a roll of the dice and the smarter money would have been on drafting Ohio State’s Evan Turner, who went second to Philadelphia.
Seven years later, that kind of thinking didn’t quite pan out. While Wall is averaging 23 points per game and looking like a video game player in the playoffs, Turner is on his fourth team and has put together a reliable (10.5 PPG) but unheralded career (not that it stopped Portland from giving him $70M). While Wall is the rare No. 1 draft pick who has justified his selection, Turner was the regrettable No. 2 pick who didn’t justify the hype.
Time has not been kind to those who said they would have picked Turner over Wall, and neither are we.
We begin with one we’ve mentioned before: Reggie Miller. Miller was on The Dan Patrick Show in 2010 right before the draft and felt pretty strongly that Turner’s talent was something you just could not pass up.
“…there’s no way you can pass up a talent like Evan Turner. He’s a combo guard. I think immediately, he’s going to be better than John Wall. There’s a learning curve for John Wall.”
Wall did need a little bit of a learning curve, but waiting for that curve was well worth it for the Wizards.
To be fair, Reggie was not alone in thinking this. To be unfair, we’ll know remind you of who those people were.
I don't believe John Wall should be chosen by the Washington Wizards as the Number 1 pick. Evan Turner has the better upside overall
— Camron Smith (@camronsmith) May 19, 2010
@jwil565 I don't know – From what I watched, I'd take Turner regardless. Love wall, but Turner has improved all 3 yrs of school.
— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) May 19, 2010
RT @Wale: who thinks the wizards are NOT gonna get john wall!!!! Why he not goin help them and Evan turner is better then him!!!
— COBIZZY (@blackcobain) May 19, 2010
I WANT TURNER!… but i'll take John Wall
— Michael Klopman (@Mklopman) May 19, 2010
Wall is best player in draft, but Turner is better fit for Wizards – Although the comparison is not apples to… http://bit.ly/cqx0vi
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) June 2, 2010
My draft board: Turner, Wall, Cousins, Favors. I like Wesley Johnson, but he's 23 years old and taking guy like him No. 4 would be mistake.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) June 24, 2010
However none of them can match the wonder and glory of this take from Deadspin’s Dan McQuade.
John Wall is Greg Oden. Evan Turner is Kevin Durant. Maybe I'm happy with the No. 2 pick.
— Dan McQuade (@dhm) May 19, 2010
After the draft was done,
Although Wall has tremendous ability and very well could be an All-Star in the NBA for many years, I’m not convinced he will be the Wizards’ savior.
…Too many times, it seemed like Wall dropped into the background and let the others around him pick up the slack. If he is the future NBA MVP many people claim he is, he should have taken it upon himself to lift his team to an NCAA title.
Unlike Wall, Evan Turner was forced to carry a far less-talented Ohio State team night in and night out during his final two seasons. He didn’t do a bad job either, leading the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament championship this past season.
Credit due, Wall has never been League MVP (though he has been an All-Star four times, something Turner will probably never be once).
And finally, Fox Sports’ Pat Muldowney can take us home…
I hope all of my Philly friends call all of their friends in D.C. and thank them for taking Wall over Turner.
— pat muldowney (@patmuldowney) June 24, 2010
Imagine if Sixers fans made phone calls to other teams bragging about their lottery draft pick in the last decade? I can’t think of anything more depressing.