John Wall’s difficulties with the jump shot are well documented. But watching France get throttled by Team USA reminded me of another point guard who was once ridiculed for poor shooting and court generalship.
The book on a young Tony Parker advised giving the Frenchman space. Fearing his speed, coaches deployed their defenders under screens, cordoning off the lane and dissuading Parker’s penetration (Far as we know, Eva Longoria had no such strategy -- cheap shot I know).
In his rookie season Parker shot just under 42 percent from the field. In Wall’s rookie year he shot a similarly abysmal 41 percent (40.9).
Parker’s improvement is due to several factors, not the least of which is the tough love of Greg Popovich, stacked squads didn’t hurt either. But if I’m Wall, I’m looking at the shooting woes of Parker as inspiration more so than Jason Kidd or Rajon Rondo.
Even if Wall’s jumper doesn’t improve appreciably he’s still a capable scorer. I’m less concerned with the purity of his jumper and more concerned with the quality of his shot selection.
Parker’s jumper improved over a period of time but it didn’t happen over night. While he worked on his stroke over the years he also worked on his shot selection and his percentages from the field reflect that.
Kidd on the other hand is a career 40 percent shooter from the field. And while his name has ascended up the all-time list for three pointers made, I think volume of shots played a role.
As for Rondo, he might be a career 48 percent shooter but the vast majority of those makes are not from jumpers. While he has shown an ability to get hot from the outside, he’s not the scoring threat that Parker is.
If Wall can get his shooting percentage to at least 45 percent he will add a few more points to his average, probably decrease his number of turnovers and play a more efficient floor game. The purity of his stroke will help that also, but in its absence there are other ways to cultivate effective offense.
In the final analysis, of course Wall has to improve his jumper. But because of his speed and athleticism team’s will likely always sag off him and go under screens. If given the choice between making OKC’s Russell Westbrook shoot the pull-up jumper he so deftly employs and seeing him collapse the defense, draw team fouls and kick to open shooters, coaches will always take their chances from the perimeter.
Wall creates similar problems. So even if he comes back next season drilling jumpers like a young and sprightly Mark Price, teams will still sag. So more than his stroke will have to improve, what maybe more important than that is when he chooses to employ it.