LAS VEGAS (AP)—John Wall(notes) wanted to get off to a fast start in his pro debut.
He needed to slow down to show why he was the top pick in the draft.
The 19-year-old Wall had a team-high 24 points and eight assists for the Washington Wizards during their 84-79 victory over the Golden State Warriors in an NBA Summer League game on Sunday. But the guard also led all players with eight turnovers, including three in the first quarter before a standing-room crowd at Cox Pavilion.
“I haven’t played a game since Kentucky,” Wall said. “I was working out and happy to be with the team all week. (There was) a lot of excitement, so that’s why I was trying to go too fast and I was losing the ball.”
Wall said he calmed down and listened to Wizards assistant Sam Cassell(notes), a former All-Star with 15 years of experience playing point guard in the NBA. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Wall injured his groin last week and missed a practice.
“What we liked about him as much as anything is his ability to make other people better,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders, who was a spectator at Wall’s debut. “He doesn’t have to score a lot of points.
“He’s got the potential to be one of the top point guards in this league. Maybe, (Wall is) the best all-around point guard at both ends, both offensively and defensively.”
Wall’s first basket as a pro occurred with 4:32 left in the opening quarter, when he hit a 16-foot jumper while backpedaling near the free-throw line.
Wall played the entire 10 minutes of the first quarter, scoring five points on 2-for-6 shooting.
“I ran downstairs before the game and I was nervous,” Wall said.
His nerves steadied when he made two clutch free throws with 17 seconds left in the game.
“When you consider everything … the atmosphere, the first game,” said Saunders, “to come out and play as he did, he’s got unbelievable intelligence and he’s unbelievably competitive. He’s one of the most coachable guys I’ve been around. He makes a mistake and he wants to know what it is.”