John Wall Year in ReviewPosted on May 16, 2013 by Jacob Raim
Jacob Raim - WashingtonWizards.com
GP: 49 PPG: 18.5 FG%: .441 3P%: .267 RPG: 4.0 APG: 7.6 FT%: .804 STL: 1.3 BLK: 0.8
Video: Plays of the Year
Impact on the Team
It’s safe to say that no player had as big an impact on the 2012-13 Wizards than John Wall. During the first 33 games which Wall sat out due to injury, the Wizards were outscored 97.2 to 89.2. Over the final 49 games of the season, when Wall was healthy, the Wizards outscored their opponents 95.6 to 94.5.
Over Wall’s first two years in the league, he was criticized a lot -- his shooting, court vision, decision making and defense -- some of it unfairly, some of it with some reason. During his third year, Wall took the leap and addressed each of those issues in his game. Wall’s jump shot improved the most dramatically. In 2011-12, was at 29 percent from 16-23 feet and he was at 7 percent from three. This year, his mid-range jumper was at 36 percent and he was at 27 percent from three. Both obviously significant rises, and while still below average from three, right around league average for point guards from 16-23 feet. His jump shot passed the eye test as well, as it was clear his mechanics were vastly improved and there was no more variation in his motion. He was repeating those solid mechanics time after time. The largest improvement though was actually in his short jumper, as he was well over league average from 3-9 feet at 52 percent, and a dramatic rise from 2011-12 when he was at just 28 percent. He continued to be around a 60 percent finisher at the rim, very solid for a point guard.
Wall’s improved jumper allowed everything else to open up for him as well. While not necessarily quantifiable, it certainly seemed as though he was getting to the rim at ease, at least partially due to defenders not being able to slack on him. It also helped open up the court for his teammates. Beal, Webster and Ariza found a ton of open looks from three with Wall driving, collapsing the defense and dishing. Wall assisted on a career best 44 percent of his team’s buckets when he was on the floor. He was sixth in the NBA in assists per game at 7.6. Not only that, but Wall played more under control than we had ever seen from him before, turning the ball over at the lowest rate of his career.
Wall’s defense didn’t improve quite as dramatically but there were certainly times when he looked like an elite perimeter defender. Wall has the quickness to stay in front of anybody and can turn defense into offense as fast as anybody. Sometimes he has the potential to gamble a little too much or get beat by some of the elite point guards in the league like Curry, Williams and Westbrook but it is quibbling. He also provided some highlight reel chase down blocks, showcasing his incredible speed and athleticism.
There were times this year when Wall was simply unstoppable and showed his potential to be a superstar, top tier player in the NBA. When he won Eastern Conference player of the week, Wall became the first NBA player in the three-point era (1979-80) to average 24.0 points, 11.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting at least .617 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .857 from the free-throw line in one week. Wall also had a career night of 47 points against one of the stingiest defenses in the NBA, the Grizzlies, who did not allow any other player all year to score more than 35.
The future is limitless for John Wall. During his first two years in the league, everybody said that if he could start knocking down a jumper consistently, he would be virtually impossible to guard. We are just about at that point. The team was at a playoff level with Wall on the court and next year expectations will be high if he can stay healthy. Wall proved this year that he can be a top PG in the league, and a leap next year would put him in the same class as the very best. Another leap, like 21 PPG and 8-9 APG, puts him in very rare company. Assuming there are no contract issues that arise, Wall will be the starting point guard for a long time in Washington, forming one of the elite backcourts in the NBA with Bradley Beal.
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