The Day the Jumper Died?

What if I told you John Wall will someday go back to being a bad jump shooter? Would you believe me? Would say, “Yeah, no sh*t”? Would you be worried? It might not even matter for his game.

John Wall has found the magical touch on long-range twos over the last two weeks – his percentage from 16 to 23 feet is all the way up to 38.1% , good for 58th in the league among qualifying players (150 or more attempts). 38% is mediocre, but the 43.6% he’s hitting in the month of March is good for a much better 28th. With his incredible increase in jump shooting prowess has come an incredible increase in just about every other type of prowess. This much is clear – John Wall is a fantastic player when he is draining over 40% of his jumpers. Wall is finishing better at the rim, getting to the line more often, and turning the ball over less. Many would say this improvement all starts with the jump shot. While I would tend to disagree that his jumper is his biggest problem (I’ve been saying for awhile his handle is, or was, his biggest problem), it certainly was a problem.

3/27 – John Wall Shot chart

Wall continued taking jumpers with confidence last night but came up short time and time again. We can blame a one of twelve effort on jumpers on a number of things, but what if it was the beginning of Wall’s return to being the worst jump shooter in the league? I fully expect Wall to revert to being a bad jump shooter, but does that mean he will revert to being a mediocre player?

The alarming part of the Wall-Jumper-Experience was that he relied on the jump shot so much – from the beginning of this incredible run up until the 47 point explosion, he was averaging near his career free throws attempted per game, but with over 25% of them coming in one game against the Cavaliers. Special attention should be paid to Wall’s ability to get in the paint, because that should be his bread and butter, and it hasn’t been easy for him this year. The jumper was a crutch, but it won’t always be.

And it doesn’t have to be. His handle is tighter and his control of the game better. Wall’s inability to hang on to the ball earlier in the year appears to be a product of rust more than anything else. The most exciting part of this streak of play is that he has shown clear improvement in skills a pass-first point guard needs; the most exciting part of this streak is that if and when his shot ends up falling closer to 35% of the time than 45% of the time, he is still an improved player.

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