John Wall. He’s the face of the franchise and key to the Wizards’ future.
It was a bit of an up-and-down season for the second-year pro. He had stretches where he looked like the All-Star we all thought he would be and stretches where he just looked lost. There’s no question that his basketball is in front of him, and that he needs to be more consistent for the Wizards to move into relevancy.
But check out what James Straton and Ben Mehic have to say on John Wall’s second NBA season.
To follow John Wall is to conduct an experiment in frustration. For each moment he finishes a 360 lay-up or a thunderous left-handed dunk, there are just as many when he fumbles with his handle only to shoot an off balance jumper from the elbow. At this point in his career, Wall is what he is – a mediocre point guard who, in whole, made no strides in his second season.
But I don’t want to be so harsh. It’s impossible to judge a point guard who can’t shoot if he plays on a team with no shooters, creators, scorers, or functional basketball players. Out go JaVale McGee and Nick Young and Wall looks like a new player (although statistics didn’t show he was worse). Fortunately for the fans, next season will come excuse-free as this team is ready to compete for an 8-seed. Unfortunately, this team will improve as Wall improves, and his first to second year numbers disappoint.
I’m not placing all of the blame for Wall’s lack of development squarely on his shoulders. Wall’s drop in assists I attribute to awful teammates (check out Mike Prada’s missed assist tracker over at Bullets Forever). His improved yet still poor shooting I attribute to the amount of mid-range shots he is forced to take due to offensive breakdowns. Of players who took 250 or more 16-23 foot jump shots, he was the worst by a long shot. He shot 30.2% on those shots while the next worst was DeMar DeRozan at 34.3%. If Wall starts hitting 40% of his mid-range jumpers like Rajon Rondo (that isn’t a typo), or 44% like Russell Westbrook, we’re looking at an unstoppable force.
John needs to slow down and pick his spots. He hasn’t been afforded either of those luxuries with the rosters Ernie has so graciously constructed around him. Excuses are constantly made for the former number one pick, but with the addition of Nenê, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, and (hopefully) Bradley Beal, it’s about time the excuses stop. John Wall will become who he will be this season, no questions asked. As for last season, he didn’t become much else than what he already was. For that, he gets a B-.
Let’s be honest. After John Wall finished his stellar rookie campaign, we all expected him to have a breakout sophomore year. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
Wall started off December by averaging 13 points and 6 assists, while shooting only 27 percent from the floor. The Wizards were absolutely awful, and it didn’t help that the young team was entering a lockout-shortened season. Wall steadily improved and went on to have his best month of the season in February while averaging over 19 points and 8 assists. Wall’s season was filled with ups and downs. After Flip Saunders was fired, Wall had to adjust to a ‘new’ coach in Randy Wittman. Shortly later, JaVale McGee and Nick Young were traded for Nene.
John Wall’s second season in the NBA was forgettable. He needs to improve exponentially if he ever wants to even think about become an elite point guard. Improving his broken jump shot is essential. Wall shot a horrific 7.1 percent from beyond the arc. I’m not saying that Wall needs to develop a three point shot in order to become elite, but shooting such a bad percentage just won’t cut it in the NBA.
We’ve seen elite level point guards such as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook improve dramatically in their third season in the league. Wall NEEDS to have similar improvement. Wall’s third season in the NBA could become his make or break year. We all know that Wall has a great work ethic so I have no doubt in my mind that he will improve. Having confidence in himself is the key for John Wall’s success. Nothing is keeping Wall from becoming a great point guard. He has the athletic ability to become leaps and bounds better than his competition. Now it’s all up to Wall to put in the work in the off season in order to become a great player, we all expect him to become.
John Wall didn’t have the type of season we would’ve liked to have saw in his second year. He did lead the team in both points and assists per game though. I don’t know whether that goes to show how good John Wall really is, or whether it shows the lack of talent Wall is surrounded with. With Nene and the third overall pick added to the equation, Wall will have more help next season than he did in the past years.
Let’s hope Wall works tirelessly on his game over the off season.