The Regression Of John Wall

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — The Wizards’ official statement reads that “the team has relieved Head Coach Flip Saunders of his duties.” Never has a press release rung so true.

No coach wants to get fired, but no coach really deserves to coach these Wizards for three years either. Saunders isn’t blameless when it comes to the 51-130 record he compiled in Washington, but we all know that he was dealing with a group of players short on discipline, basketball IQ and leadership.

The Wizards should have been improved this season, and the improvement should have started with point guard John Wall. The 2010 No. 1 draft pick was banged up for much of his rookie season and had an extra-long offseason to take what he learned last year, sharpen his game and improve his jumper. Many of us predicted that Wall would have a break-out season, turning his talent into production.

But thus far this season, Wall’s numbers are worse than they were in his rookie year. He’s shooting worse, assisting less, and turning the ball over more. As a result, the Wizards rank last in offensive efficiency, scoring a putrid 92 points per 100 possessions.

Wall has talked often about improving his mid-range game, but he’s been flat out awful from mid-range this season. Of the 84 players who have attempted at least 50 shots from mid-rage (between the paint and the 3-point line), Wall ranks 83rd in mid-range shooting percentage, ahead of only Danny Granger.

That’s not Wall’s only weak spot. He also struggles to finish near the basket, ranking 80th in percentage among the 89 players who have attempted at least 50 shots from inside five feet. He ranks 63rd among the 69 players who have attempted at least 25 shots from elsewhere in the paint. And he’s yet to make a 3-pointer.

This season, Wall is shooting worse than he did last season from every distance…

John Wall’s shooting

Restricted Area Paint (Non-RA) Mid-Range 3-point range TOTAL
2010-11 224 407 55.0% 37 122 30.3% 103 328 31.4% 34 115 29.6% 398 972 40.9%
2011-12 62 120 51.7% 8 29 27.6% 22 86 25.6% 0 8 .0% 92 243 37.9%

The one thing that Wall continues to do well is get to the free throw line. This year, he’s attempting 48 free throws per 100 shots from the field, up from 40 last season. But the free throws don’t make up for the poor shooting. Of the 151 players who have attempted at least 50 shots this season, Wall ranks 137th in true shooting percentage.

Wall isn’t performing in a vacuum, of course. His supporting cast is certainly holding him back. But point guards selected with the No. 1 pick are supposed to elevate the play of their teammates.

Instead of breaking out this season, Wall has regressed. It’s still early, but in regards to the Wizards’ 2-15 start, their star point guard deserves some of the blame.


  1. WD40 says:

    Wall should consider D-League.

  2. shabreezy says:

    This team consists of the most selfish players ive ever witnessed play NBA basketball. Part of the blame for their horrible record can be put on Wall but not all. Wall can only do so much, basketball is a team sport. Also keep in mind that 10 of those 15 losses were against atlanta,boston,chicago, orlando, new york, and philly (excelling this year) Every one of those teams are top teams with stars and veterans. Its not like they have blown too many games against average teams

  3. brandon says:

    john wall is by no means a good player right now. he’s one of the worst shooters in the NBA and he simply doesn’t have the maturity, work ethic, positive energy, mentality, maturity a guy like derrick rose does to improve his game. he’s a kid asked to be a superstar he may never be because of those things.

  4. Boy Pickup says:

    This is unlike Oklahoma has gone through. Even though they were losing st KD’s first 3 years, you’d see the progress the team has been going through. As for this team, things are just getting worse.

    Good decision on firing Flip, they need a new voice. They need to take out players, though with potential, is not good for the team’s chemistry (Blatch). Get some vets who knows about winning and would be able to be a force in the locker room (Lewis isnt a candidate for that).

    Clearly, Wall has vast potential to carry this team. But all of this would go into waste if they don’t get the right people and personnel around him.

  5. charles says:

    John Wall has too much talent to be asked this many things. If you are a point guard run the team. If you’re a shooting guard, stop trying to pretend you’re a point guard. Wall has every bit of talent that Derek Rose does. The difference is that Rose has intense focus on being the point and saving the fourth quarter to win games. Washington needs to get rid of the junk and negative personalities and focus on bringing solid players.

  6. Law064 says:

    Yeah he deserves some of the blame but it seems like he didn’t work on to much during the off season. IMO It is still early but he needs to get better and put in the extra work during practice. For the Wizard fans hopefully this is just a slow start from him. He’s still young and have a lot of weight on him.

  7. Julius Malema says:

    Those numbers are appalling.

  8. lord p says:

    Diana you say it all!!

  9. lakers24 says:

    hey john i dont think you guys should make such a big deal about his numbers, i mean just look at another point guard who clearly is one of the best point guards in the league in deron williams, look how drasticly his all star numbers have dropped since joining the new jersey nets, becaue he doesnt have teamates, same with john wall he doesnt have the teamates for him to show us how good he can be.

    • pudge says:

      williams’ numbers dropping still puts him in the top percentile of a myriad of stats. wall’s standings are horrendous =/

  10. Sp says:

    Strip this team bare, send Young and McGee to the Lakers for Gasol, Fisher and Draft Picks, and watch Wall be FORCED to improve his game playing with older stars and not a bunch of wild kids.

  11. Diana says:

    It was just a matter of time before Flip was going to leave. Having been hired to coach a veteran team, locker room problems, trades and now many one and two year players. I suspect he could have done well with vets, but putting together a boatload of newbies obviously wasn’t his strength.

    John Wall said earlier in the year something to the effect that team members weren’t playing hard and were not committed and he was right. It’s hard enough to come in as a 19 year old and to learn the NBA Game, but with a shortened pre-season, many new team members and the lack of teammates committed and disciplined enough to win. Add to that the fact that this was the beginning of his second year and that other teams are now familiar with his game they are able to defend against him better.

    I believe that under these current circumstances it is easy to see why he may have come to a “why should I bother to try anymore attitude. Although considered the “team leader” how does a second year 19 or 20 year old call out the slackers by name without risking criticism from his teammates? What could he have done?

    Shouldn’t the coach have taken over that role and supported his young point guard?

    Blatch is one of the senior members on the team, even named a captain by Flip to boost Dre’s ego and just this week casually suggested that the fan “boos” don’t help a player who is struggling. Well, Blatche seems to think that he is the Big Man On Campus entitled to do and say whatever he wants. The fans were the only ones left to call him out. Dre’ seems to me to be one of those people who obviously does not respond to positive reinforcement, has a history of having poor judgement and values himself more than team. If he feels entitled to criticize his coach after one or two games it is unlikely that any of his teammates would risk calling him out. He is a cancer on this team.

    First Step to take is to trade Dre’ immediately. He has excellent potential and on a new team with a coach that expects him to earn his paycheck he could be a successful player. But it is time to get rid of “Blatche the Bully”, perhaps for a veteran player like Grant Hill or Ray Allen along with another player or draft pick(s). I’d love to see him play for Gentry or Doc Rivers. If he didn’t shape up he would become a life long bench player if he doesn’t end up in jail first.

    ** Might be the best thing that could happen for Young and McGhee to find another player to look up to and on a new team it is unlikely that he would be able to establish another posse. **

    • Himanshu says:

      Couldn’t have said it any better myself. There’s wayy too much pressure on Wall right now. He’s not Rose and cant immediately impact the team in a shortened season. As of late, he’s been playing much better and seems to be competing with a purpose. First thing’s first, get rid of all the cancerous, egotistical, non-coachable “team”mates( every player thinks they are THE star on the team). Ohh and last but no least, GET RID OF GRUNFELD.

  12. tupark82 says:

    good stuff. he deserves a LOT of the blame imo. if he improved, they would not be 2-15, that is for damn certain.