Has Wall Hit The ‘Sophomore Wall?’

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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?

31 Comments

  1. ray says:

    when will flip be flipped out of washington dc, 2 more losses?

  2. J1rose says:

    KWAME BROWN – 1st pick of wizard BUST
    JOHN WALL – 1st pick of wizard WORST

  3. bj malvar says:

    just trade wall to rockets…. much better

  4. kudu says:

    this censoring is bull
    same here i don’t think that hes a true pg some things one can not learn no matter how hard one tries and star player did always make impact right away

    V

  5. Vannez says:

    John Wall is fast but he needs to improve his perimeter shooting his fast and athletic all he needs is a better team and better teammates or better coach maybe?? not like wash who doesn’t have any veteran at all….veterans helps younger teammates to mature and learn the true science of basketball i would recommend bringing a new coach and a veteran who can shoot and lead them to be a better and mature player^_^

    • ao1 says:

      You are right. The players in this team are young. They need some veterans who could help them matured. Because they don’t have VETERAN, John Wall and the Wizzard should just better run away and just watch others play.

  6. mike says:

    My previuos post was not published for whatever reason. So I’ll try to make it short. John Wall doesn’t have a jumper nor a good baskeball IQ (he simply makes bad decisions with the basketball).
    Being a n.1 pick, he may well be considered a bust. No as bad as Kwame Brown or Olowokandi, but still only a mediorce player. At his prime he just might be borderline All-Star, probably just like Jennings. Heck, I think Jrue Holiday will have a better career than Wall!

  7. mattman says:

    wall has all the talent to make it in this league..i think he is just in a small slump..all it takes is one game for a scorer to get out of his funk..i expect to see wall explode for 30+ points soon and when that happens, all of his numbers should go up consistently from there

    mindofmattman.blogspot.com

  8. shakenbake says:

    Wall is a bust. the only consistent player in the 2010 NBA Draft is Landry Fields. Paul George is getting better and without Cousins bad attitude, he is the best player in the draft. Wall is just ummm fast. thats it. He is not smart making plays and doesnt have great vision like rubio has. Wall cannot grow up to be a player like derrick rose, chris paul, steve nash, jkidd or dwill. Because those great pg has 1 thing in common. Leadership. They make their teamates play better. WALL IS A BUST

  9. The Truth says:

    Wall hit the Wall.

  10. BelizeBoy says:

    It’s not fair to judge Wall on player efficiency. His team sucks so that stat is not a fair representation of his game.

  11. S. Hughes says:

    Clearly this kids talent is unmistakable. To say he himself is a bust when he joined the team being it’s best player is ignorant. No matter how talented a guy is, his development will be hindered on a team where there isn’t any veteran leadership to aid in polishing his overall game. Just ask Lebron.

  12. Sharm says:

    No way he’s a bust…yet..he’s one of the most skilled players in the NBA; there’s no one else who can score from end to end as fast as he could. I agree that he needs to improve the mental aspect of the game, right now he plays more like a street baller. And for this he needs minutes, and guidance. There’s a video of him lifting weights on youtube and it is pathetic. The trainer is to blame for that. So yea, he needs better coaching.

    As far as determination, I think he has enough, and when he sees better results, he’ll get more drive. But yea, he needs to improve his body too.

    And the wizards should go through McGee more often, he’s on the rise and is getting better, they’re losing anyways, might as well get him more touches so he gets more confidence. But yea definitely the team is not coming together for some reason, even tough they have much more scoring and athletic talent than teams like Toronto who are still winning a few. lets see….

  13. Kevon says:

    Can we please wait until we are at least 10 games into the season before we start calling him a sophmore slump?

  14. Stan says:

    Give me Joel Anthony over John Wall anyday. Joel is one of the hardest working players and it shows. John Wall is a bust and soon will fade into obscurity.

    • DD12 says:

      I don’t think John Wall is a bust. He has great skills and he is still young. You can’t be a bust if you’re chosen in 1st place in the draft. He proved is skills while playing in college. He is still very young and he has to be the team leader, the face of the franchise and the best team mate. Imagine the pressure. Give him time and maybe some veteran players, guys with some good ideas and he will improve.

  15. Summer League says:

    Too much summer League still in his game! Waitin’ for him to get back into NBA mode…

  16. Douglas says:

    You do realise that he only says “have you seen Joel Anthony from 15 feet”
    Implying that he has an atrocious jumpshot, which is true. He never once says Joel is terrible from the floor, or mentions his percentages he just implies that he has one of the worst JUMP SHOTS.
    You all need to read before jumping the gun.

  17. corleone says:

    why are you guys defending joel by writing what his fg % is, the writer was talkin about joels 15 footers, i love watchin the heat but i have never seen joel shoot a 15 footer.
    and for wall i think it is to early to criticize him, he got an awful team so be patience, they should keep their draft picks and built for the future.

    and in the drafts they should take the best player available as long as it is not a pg, cause jan vesely is not gonna cut it.

    • shakenbake says:

      Lebron had an awful team in cleveland when he was a rookie. he made the team better in two seasons.
      Mellow had an awful team in denver also made them better in his 1st year they made the playoffs
      Even if the wizards have an awful team. he should be having all star stats for a 1st pick 1st round player. If not he is then a bust.

  18. Coach PeeWill says:

    john wall is a good player unfortanately he is on a team of bums there all all D leaguers with out any winning coulture or expectations you get him with some guidence or a good team everybody would be on his sack, imagine the talk would be diffrent if he were on new york or the lakers, dallas

  19. swt says:

    This is about John Wall, why include Joel? you should learn how to respect other ppl, and learn how to be a writer again.

  20. barney 1313 says:

    Im sorry but this kid is a Bust, he has never been efficient and he will only get worse with a bad coach and a bad team! The only thing that can save him, is that Phil Jackson comes to the Wizards.. In other words, he’s toast

  21. barney 1313 says:

    Im sorry but this kid is a Bust, he has never been efficient and he will only get worse with a bad coach and a bad team! The only thing that can save him, is that Phil Jackson comes to the Wizards.. In other words, he’s toast

  22. brandon says:

    The difference between John Wall and a guy like Derrick Rose is the mentality. Derrick Rose will put in the work, be humble, and quietly do his thing, John Wall will talk a whole lot but won’t deliver much. He’s still immature and needs to learn about work ethic. The Wizards are not the right team if he wants to learn anything, they have no veteran presence whatsoever, their players are all young, immature and unprofessional and it wasn’t long ago that they had the gun incident ;) The team in general needs a shift in mentality

  23. HEATERS says:

    GO HEAT!!!!

  24. MG says:

    Agreed on laying off Joel Anthony, I’ve noticed this season Joel’s inside offence improving, when getting an offensive rebound last season he’d normally kick the ball back out to the perimeter rather than going straight up. This season he’s been able to finish on those rebounds.

  25. Grant Stern says:

    Lay off Joel Anthony. Aside from the fact that he has tremendously improved his game over the years, and from last year to this season in particular, he shoots a fine percentage from the floor, always has. He’s had a few ugly misses through the years, and limited attempts, but those days have receded quietly into the past.

    For your information (since you obviously lack internet access and google) Joel Anthony is a career 49.6% Field Goal shooter and shooting 61.1% in this young season.

    John Wall has a career average of 40.3% and is shooting an abysmal (kind of like your powers of analogy) 32.9% from the floor this season.

    For someone whose full time job is writing about basketball, maybe you should try watching it or reading about it first.

    • AusFan says:

      He said “Joel Anthony from 15 feet”. His reasonable percentage is a result of layups/dunks/points in the paint. From 15+ feet he may as well be shooting from half court. The man knows his range, but he’s a terrible “shooter”