First he got a max deal, now he has a mentor. Per J. Michael at CSNWashington.com, John Wall will be working out with Gary Payton in Seattle this summer before heading back east for Wizards camp at the end of August. Payton, a soon-to-be Hall of Famer, sees a lot of himself in Wall, and wants to help him realize his full potential. In January, The Glove spoke to NBC’s Pro Basketball Talk about the former Cat, saying:
“First of all I struggled for three years… Really for two years, and then when George Karl got there (to Seattle) my struggles ended because I got a basketball coach that let me do what I wanted to do… Me and (Wall) have talked a lot on the phone. He has called me about the situation, the same situation (I was in) to learn about things, and I’ve been talking to him about things and I’ve been talking to him a lot…
With John Wall I think he understood that he has to get better and he has to go work out and he has to go improve on those things… I think if he knows he’s not good at something, he’ll go workout at it. And that’s what I respect a lot about him and a lot about his game. And I know he’s going to get better because I know he’s got the mentality that he wants to get better, he wants to learn from other people, he wants to take advice from people and he wants to get better.”
$80 million deal aside, this is somewhat of a make-or-break year for Wall. If he’s a budding superstar, he needs to make the leap now, as the window is closing otherwise. And it sounds like not only does Wall realize that, Payton does as well. So, seems like a good relationship to me. Mentor away, Gary.