Let’s be very clear about this: John Wall isn’t the reason the Wizards are winless heading into their game with the Knicks. But just as Wall was a reason for optimism in Washington this season, his performances of late haven’t inspired much if any this season.
The Wizards rank at or near the bottom in every major offensive category, and that falls on the point guard. He must set the tempo, find open teammates, get easy shots for teammates and score when necessary. Maybe some of the blame lies with the system used by coach Flip Saunders, but if you’re a talented point guard, you can make it work in almost any system other than the triangle offense.
Wall is delivering just over six assists a game, which is fine at first glance (although down from his rookie season). But the Wizards if nothing else have offensive talent and a fair amount of finishers. Wall should get six assists alone on lob passes to JaVale McGee. And while Andray Blatche will never be accused of being a basketball genius, he does have a point: his shots should be taken closer to the basket.
Wall was taken to the shed by Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who said Wall was the worst shooter in the NBA:
So far into his career, John Wall is the worst shooter in the NBA.
Adults have many duties to the young. One is honesty. When gifted kids grow up, their elders, including employers, should be candid about their flaws and help them fulfill their talent. Nobody knows the whole job at age 21.
Right now, the Washington Wizards have an enormous responsibility to Wall. They need to see him clearly and let him know that, despite his big contract, his No. 1 overall draft pick status, his face-of-franchise public relations role and his obvious talents, he is still not yet a good NBA player.
In two respects, he is actually one of the worst players in the league.
Last year, Wall was second in the NBA in turnovers per game among starting players. Everybody noticed, including Wall. It’s a hard stat to miss.
Player efficiency rating is a decent measure of per-minute production, adjusted so that the league average is 15.0. Wall is at 15.6.
Wall has an enormous amount of work to do on his game. That should actually be good news, not bad.
That’s pretty strong, and maybe Boz has never seen Joel Anthony from 15 feet. But Wall’s shot selection has taken a dive so far this season; he’s at 33 percent and has shown no inclination to stretch his range to the 3-point stripe.
It’s certainly not worth wasting your breath by saying Wall is headed to bust-ville. The kid is too young and his game is still developing; besides, he has enviable skills. But right now, Wall is looking like Brandon Jennings of 2010-11, a point guard coming off a strong rookie season who suffers from poor shooting and predictably, his team often crumbles.
You see the similarity?