John Wall is having an All-Star caliber year, leading the Wizards to a respectable 16-17 record, albeit in a weak Eastern Conference. He is averaging 19.7 points per game on 42.1% shooting and 8.7 assists per game. However, in the last five games, he has been averaging 16.8 points per game on a horrid 36.5% shooting and 7 assists per game. The Wizards have gone 2-3 in these past five games, after barely squeezing out a victory over the Pelicans last night. So, what has been different for Wall?
The biggest thing for Wall has been a change in his shot selection. Overall on the season, he is averaging 16.5 shot attempts per game, with 3.8 three point attempts per game. In the last five games, he has been averaging 14.8 shot attempts per game, with 4.6 three point attempts per game. Translation: Wall is shooting less and attempting more threes, an obvious detriment to his field goal percentage and lower scoring total.
Consider the two shot charts above.
The first is Wall’s shot chart for the entire season, and the second is his shot chart for the last five games. While he is clearly in a shooting slump, he needs to attack the basket more and stop settling for the long elbow jumpers, of which he has now missed 11 in a row. Although many of these shots were open, I’d like to see Wall put his head down and go to the basket a little bit more, especially because the most consistent part of his game has been his ability to finish at the rim at a solid rate. Also, Wall’s ability to draw contact has been particularly impressive; he is hitting his free throws at 85.1%, good for 17th in the league.
The final key to this aggressive offensive approach for Wall is the drive and kick game that has become so effective for the Wizards. When Wall attacks the basket, he commands the attention of multiple defenders, and is able to create open shots for spot up shooters such as Beal and Ariza, which will also improve his down assist numbers.
If John Wall wants to improve his percentages from the floor, it’s clear that he’ll have to improve his shot selection.