The John Wall Effect: How John Wall Makes His Teammates Better


Point guard is perhaps the most disparate position in the NBA. There are pass-first point guards like Rajon Rondo, score-first point guards like Kyrie Irving, and all other point guards falling somewhere along this spectrum in what amounts to the deepest position in the league.

However, the best point guards in the league excel at both of these skills, with players such as Chris Paul annually flirting with 20 points and 10 assists over the course of a season. The ideal point guard will lead his team and facilitate the offense, making his teammates better by setting them up for easier scoring opportunities. John Wall may not be throwing up fancy alley-oops to dunking machines like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but Wall may be the best point guard in the league when it comes to making players around him better.

Upon hearing the news of Bradley Beal’s injury, many doubted the Washington Wizards and wondered if they were in danger of missing the playoffs. However, the Wizards have had a relatively fast start, going 4-2 to begin this season. The primary reason for this has been John Wall’s stellar play, where he has averaged 19.2 PPG and 9.5 APG, and 2.3 SPG to boot. However, a huge part of the Wizards’ early season success is due to the play of Garrett Temple.

Garrett Temple has never been much of an offensive threat in his 5 year career. He has mostly made his name as a defensive stopper, with his long arms and good instincts. For his career, he has averaged 3.6 PPG on 39% FG shooting, with his 3 point shooting percentage at just 32.1%. As a result of the injury to Beal, Temple has earned the starting shooting guard spot and made the most of his opportunity. Playing alongside Wall, he has shot 43.8% from 3 this season, and that’s on 5.3 3 point attempts per game. Considering Beal averaged 4.7 3 point attempts per game and hit 40.2% of them last season, it is clear that Wall has elevated Temple’s game and the Wizards are benefitting as a result.

It’s easy to wonder if this is an anomaly, and how much of an impact John Wall has had on Temple’s success. Using’s new stats page, 3.8 of Temple’s 5.3 3 point attempts per game come from Wall. Not only does Wall assist on a high percentage of his attempts, but Temple hits 3 point field goals from Wall at just under a 40% rate. The most important numbers however are to do with Wall’s ability to find an open Temple. Of his 5.3 3 point attempts per game, 3.0 of them on average are defined as wide open, and Temple is scoring these at a 55.6% rate.

Much has already been said about John Wall’s effect in helping to develop Trevor Ariza’s 3 point range, a career 32% 3 point shooter before last season. Wall and Ariza were the most prolific assist to corner three combo in the league, and Ariza shot a career best 40.7% from three. Taking a closer look at the numbers, Ariza shot 5.7 3s per game, with 3.0 of them coming from wide open looks. You’re probably wondering how many 3s Ariza shot with an assist from Wall? 3.1. And that is no coincidence.

Back to this season, John Wall’s passing abilities have been on full display. He is currently 3rd in the league in points created by assist per game, behind only Rondo and Ricky Rubio. Another thing that most people don’t take into account are free throw assist per game. This is defined as passes to players who are fouled in the act of shooting and hit at least one free throw. This is an important determinant of measuring passing ability in the paint especially, as well as with big men. Using just assists per game, if Wall makes an incredible pass to a wide open Marcin Gortat who is shoved from behind, the assist per game metric does not take this into account. Wall leads the entire league in free throw assists, with 2.0 per game. The next closest player is Tyreke Evans, but they are separated by a wide margin, as he only has 1.5 free throw assists per game.

As the Wizards continue to get healthy, Wall’s passing numbers will only improve. While many people continue to place John Wall in same category of point guard as players such as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, hopefully with the emphasis of new stats people will realize that Wall is indeed a true pass first point guard who also has the ability to fill up the scoresheet. And hopefully, unknowledgeable critics will begin to quiet down.

Next: Wizards (4-2) vs. Pacers (1-5) Preview