Commentary

How Wall can avoid Marbury's fate

Statistically, John and Stephon are similar. Here's how Wall can upgrade his game.

Updated: September 13, 2011, 1:40 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
John WallNed Dishman/NBAE/Getty ImagesJohn Wall's rookie season was statistically similar to the one produced by Stephon Marbury.

While Stephon Marbury continues to play professionally in China, the epitaph has already been written on his pro career. Marbury will be remembered as a waste of talent and a triumph of hype over production. As a result, it's easy to imagine the kind of terror Washington Wizards fans must experience when they see franchise point guard John Wall mentioned with Marbury, but that's the comparison our SCHOENE projection system makes.

Marbury isn't actually the closest match for Wall at the same age; that's Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook, with a score of 97.6. However, it's hard to use Westbrook's development as a template for Wall since it is still very much in progress. Among contemporary players with full careers, Marbury (91.8) is the best match. That might prove instructive for Wall as he looks to avoid the same fate as Marbury and instead put together a successful NBA career.

How they're similar

Both are ball-dominant point guards
Statistically, it's hard to prove Marbury's reputation for selfishness. He ranked in the NBA's top 10 in assists each of his first nine seasons in the league. In fact, Marbury's assist rate as a rookie (10.3 percent of his team's plays) was actually slightly better than Wall's (9.8 percent). Both players also created a significant amount of offense for themselves. Their usage rates during their rookie seasons were nearly identical: 24.3 percent of his team's plays for Marbury and 24.0 percent for Wall.


To read more about how John Wall resembles Stephon Marbury, and the ways in which he can improve his game so that he doesn't follow in Marbury's footsteps, become an ESPN Insider today.