Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Examining how the Wizards' bargain free agent has improved since his time in Minnesota.
Martell Webster's perimeter presence has been exactly what the Wizards needed this season. Let's take a look at how Webster is finding the most efficient shots on the floor and knocking them down at an elite level.
The biggest weapon in Webster's offensive arsenal is his spot-up shooting. According to Synergy Sports, he's scoring 1.22 points per spot-up possession, which ranks 22nd in the league. Obviously, a huge part of that has been his tremendous three-point shooting in these situations. He's shooting 48 percent from deep when spotting-up, which is similar to (and sometimes better than) noted sharpshooters Ray Allen, Kyle Korver, and Steve Novak. The table below breaks down where Webster's getting his looks and how it's changed since last season.
As the table shows, Webster is spotting up from the corner much more than last year (that's good). But that's not the only explanation for his success because he's also shooting an impressive 44 percent on non-corner threes. While it's been a great ride so far, these percentages have to regress at some point, right? Webster has displayed some good shooting in his career, but nothing like this. A possible explanation for this uptick is that this is Webster's first healthy season in quite a while.
Another factor in Webster's improvement is his increased role in transition. Last year with Minnesota, 14 percent of Webster's possessions came in transition; that number is up to 23 percent this season. These transition buckets are an easy way to boost your efficiency, and Webster has really taken advantage of the extra opportunities.
Webster's great shooting has perhaps provided him with the confidence to seek out more threes in transition. Last year with Minnesota, Webster was making his transition threes 39 percent of the time. But this year, Webster is taking more and making 47 percent of them. In Minnesota, Webster would sometimes eschew the three-pointer and continue running to the rim, which isn't necessarily the wrong thing to do. But those only get you two points. Since Webster is having a career year shooting threes, he has made a point to flare out to the corners and let the bigs run to the rim.
As long as the big men are filling the paint, the transition defense will almost always account for them first. That leaves Webster to continue his hot shooting from three.
The other big improvement for Webster has been his involvement in off-ball screens. Last year, Webster ranked 93rd in the league in points per off-ball screening possession. This year, he's jumped up to 11th. One of Webster's most successful plays is shown in the video below. Webster starts by setting an off-ball screen and then he sets a ball screen. When Webster sets the ball screen, his defender is forced to help, which means Webster gets a head start as he runs along the baseline. As the ball is swung to the opposite side of the floor, Webster uses two more screens and ends up open in the corner. (Sidenote: if you like disinterested defense, watch as Kobe Bryant does a particularly poor job of sticking with Webster on this play.)
Martell Webster's production has been more than welcome on a team that severely lacked shooting. So far, his marksmanship has been equal to some of the best shooters in the league. However, with this great production comes a bit of worry that this isn't the "real" Martell Webster. Do you expect Webster to come back to Earth in the second half of the season?