With just over a year before he's eligible for restricted free agency, it will soon be time for the Washington Wizards to seriously consider how point guard and franchise player John Wall fits into their future. Whenever that time comes, the question will likely be whether he's worth signing to a max contract.
Asked recently by Grantland's Zach Lowe whether he believes he's a "max contract player," worthy of the league's biggest possible deal under the current CBA, Wall responded, "I feel like I am. I do, definitely."
In many ways, Wall's perception of himself as a max contract player is understandable, considering he's a former No. 1 overall pick armed with extraordinary athletic ability and a track record of solid production.
However, the holes in his resume are pretty obvious: he can't shoot from long range, he's prone to sloppy turnovers, he's made only incremental improvements as a pro partially due to knee issues, and arguably most importantly, he simply hasn't led Washington to any kind of success since joining the team.
Next season will likely be the make-or-break season for Wall unless Washington decides to give him a big extension before this year's deadline, though there's some reason for optimism on the Wizards' part. Many young stars take some time before ultimately breaking out, and the team has looked much better in recent months with a relatively healthy roster.
The team still has some time to weigh their options, as Wall is still under contract for the 2013-14 season before hitting restricted free agency, at which point Washington will retain the option to match any offer sheet he signs. There's really no need to make a major long-term commitment to him until the summer of 2014.
But the clock is running out and the pressure is mounting, yet the question remains, "Can John Wall be the best player on your team?"