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John Schuhmann

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John Wall battled an injury-plagued rookie season to put up impressive numbers.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

StatsCube: Wall's arrival increased pace, but not much else


Posted Dec 2 2011 7:07AM

To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.

Stripping down a veteran roster and building it back up can be a long and difficult process. The Washington Wizards began that process a year and a half ago, and it was seemingly accelerated when they landed the No. 1 pick in the 2010 Draft.

But as far as No. 1 picks go, John Wall didn't make much of an impact in his first year in Washington as the Wizards won three fewer games than they did the previous season. The point guard was dealing with injuries all season and his teammates lacked the talent (and experience) to pick up the slack.

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A healthy Wall could be a breakout star this season, but he'll need some help.

2010-11 Basics
Record: 23-59
Pace: 96.5 (9)
OffRtg: 99.6 (28)
DefRtg: 107.2 (23)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

No team increased their pace from the previous season more than the Wizards, whose 94.1 possessions per 48 minutes ranked 19th in 2009-10. Attribute much of that to the addition of Wall. Stil, the faster pace didn't help much as they were one of eight teams to regress in efficiency on both ends of the floor (relative to the league average).

Biggest pace increase from 2009-10
Team 2009-10 Rank 2010-11 Rank Diff.
Washington 94.1 19 96.5 9 +2.4
Cleveland 93.5 25 95.5 10 +2.0
New York 96.1 9 98.1 2 +2.0
Miami 91.9 28 93.2 21 +1.3
Sacramento 96.5 7 97.8 4 +1.3

The Wizards played at a faster pace with Wall on the floor, but they were worse offensively and defensively than they were with him on the bench. What's interesting is that JaVale McGee's on-off-court numbers were the opposite, even though no Washington teammates spent more time on the floor together last season than Wall and McGee.

Wizards efficiency
On-off court MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
Wall on court 2606 97.4 98.9 107.9 -9.0
Wall off court 1380 94.8 100.9 105.9 -5.0
McGee on court 2193 96.0 102.1 106.5 -4.4
McGee off court 1793 97.0 96.5 108.0 -11.5

McGee may be a bit of a knucklehead who attempts dunks from the free throw line with his team down 25 points, but the numbers indicate that he was the Wizards' most effective player last season. And that's a very positive development for the seven-footer. In each of his first two seasons in the league, Washington was better on both ends of the floor when McGee was on the bench.

McGee was most successful when sharing the floor with Rashard Lewis, whom the Wizards acquired for Gilbert Arenas in December. Of the Wizards' 44 two-man combinations that played at least 275 minutes together, Lewis and McGee were the only one with a positive plus-minus. They were a plus-25 in 471 minutes together.

In need of some continuity, please

Lewis, McGee and Wall were all part of the Wizards' most-used lineup, which was actually very good, outscoring its opponents by 4.5 points per 100 possessions in 255 minutes together. In fact, six of Flip Saunders' 10 most-used lineups had a positive plus-minus, which is pretty remarkable for a team that lost 59 games.

Wizards' most-used lineups
Lineup GP MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Wall, Young, Lewis, Blatche, McGee 19 255 96.6 106.0 101.5 +4.5 +30
Wall, Hinrich, Thornton, Blatche, McGee 16 132 93.8 91.8 105.1 -13.3 -30
Wall, Crawford, Evans, Blatche, McGee 9 117 96.4 107.5 96.6 +10.9 +25
Wall, Crawford, Evans, Yi, McGee 11 85 92.9 94.5 110.3 -15.8 -26
Hinrich, Young, Thornton, Blatche, McGee 13 77 94.7 106.9 94.0 +12.9 +22
Wall, Crawford, Yi, Booker, McGee 8 76 92.0 95.0 119.1 -24.0 -39
Arenas, Hinrich, Thornton, Blatche, McGee 7 73 94.3 115.8 103.2 +12.5 +17
Wall, Young, Howard, Blatche, McGee 7 62 98.5 105.4 114.7 -9.2 -11
Wall, Young, Lewis, Booker, Blatche 4 52 92.4 100.3 96.5 +3.8 +7
Wall, Hinrich, Thornton, Yi, Blatche 14 49 94.1 117.3 111.5 +5.8 +4

The problem was continuity, as no Wizards lineup played in more than 19 games together. They had some good lineups, but only with relatively small sample sizes. There were 94 lineups around the league that played at least 150 minutes last season, and the Wizards had just one of them.

The only player in all six of the successful lineups above is Andray Blatche, but his time with those six lineups represented just 29 percent of his total minutes. And overall, the Wizards were pretty awful with Blatche on the floor, getting outscored by almost seven points per 100 possessions.

Blatche was rather inefficient for a 6-foot-11 power forward. Of players 6-foot-10 or taller who attempted at least 500 shots last season, only four had a worse true shooting percentage than Blatche's 49.7 percent.

*True shooting percentage = Points / (2*(FGA + (0.44*FTA)))

Wall gets to the line

Wall wasn't that efficient either. Among the 62 point guards around the league who played at least 750 minutes, he ranked 57th in effective field goal percentage, 50th in true shooting percentage, and 52nd in turnover ratio (turnovers per 100 possessions).

And at this point, Wall still needs work at making his teammates better. He seemingly had good chemistry with McGee, but the center actually shot better when Wall was on the bench (56.5 percent) than when Wall was on the floor (54.3 percent). The same goes for both Blatche and Lewis. The other two players who played at least 700 minutes with Wall, Yi Jianlian and Nick Young, shot better with Wall on the floor.

There was one area where Wall's speed clearly had an impact. Among those 62 point guards who played at least 750 minutes, he had the 10th highest rate of free throw attempts, attempting 40 free throws for every 100 shots he took from the field. That ranked just below Chris Paul (41 per 100) and higher than Derrick Rose (35 FTA per 100 FGA), Steve Nash (31 per 100) and Tony Parker (28 per 100).

So if Wall can improve his shooting from the field, he can be one of the more efficient point guards in the league.

It's simple: Young doesn't pass

Wall ranked 24th among point guards in assist ratio with 29 assists per 100 possessions used. And as a team, the Wizards ranked last in the league by assisting on just 52 percent of their field goals. The season before, they ranked 29th with the same ratio.

Leading the every-man-for-himself trend was Young, who, for each of the last two seasons, has had the lowest assist ratio among all guards and small forwards that played at least 750 minutes.

Lowest assist rate among guards and small forwards
Player GP MIN FGA FTA AST TO Usage Rate ASTRatio
Nick Young 64 2034 935 228 75 90 22.1% 6.2
Mickael Pietrus 57 1107 365 57 33 39 16.0% 7.1
Linas Kleiza 39 1032 406 65 40 65 19.6% 7.4
Maurice Evans 73 1549 424 58 45 33 12.7% 8.5
Anthony Morrow 58 1856 620 107 68 54 16.4% 8.6
Minimum 750 minutes played

Young is a restricted free agent, and the Wizards may look to replace him in the backcourt with Jordan Crawford, whom they acquired from Atlanta in February. Crawford had a higher assist ratio than Young (15.9), but only 28 percent of his own field goals were assisted on, a rate which ranked 171st of 181 players who attempted at least 500 shots last season, and dead last among non-point guards. Wall ranked 176th at 27 percent.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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