2012-13 Washington Wizards player evaluation: John Wall


Our player evaluations march on as John Wall gets the spotlight.

Our look back at the 2012-13 season continues. Today's installment: John Wall.

Basic stats: 18.5 points and 7.6 assists in 32.7 minutes per game, 52% true shooting percentage, 20.8 PER.

Contract status: Washington picked up their team option for Wall for next year for $7.5 million. He can be signed to an early contract extension this summer that would kick in starting with the 2014-15 season. Many think that deal will be a max contract.

Preseason expectations: Wall was viewed as an electrifying athlete who might never reach his ceiling due to his poor jump shot. This year was supposed to be critical in his development into a star. It wasn't unreasonable to believe he'd be a fringe All-Star if Washington got off to a hot start, but he had to step up.

Offense: The consistent jump shot that had eluded him for years finally appeared. Wall shot 29 percent from 16-23 feet in 2012, among the worst performances of any perimeter player in the NBA, and made a ghastly 7 percent of his three pointers. This year he managed to make 37 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet and 27 percent of his threes. While neither figure is particularly impressive, the respect defenders were forced to show his jumper opened up the rest of Wall's game, allowing him to become a much more effective option in the halfcourt. Not only did he manage to score more efficiently, boosting his true shooting percentage to a career-high 53 percent, but he managed to do it more frequently. His torrid stretch from March until the end of the year is to thank for this rise.

While Wall's scoring grabbed headlines, he also quietly improved as a passer. He assisted on a career-best 44 percent of Washington's field goals when he was on the floor while cutting his turnovers to the lowest level of his career. Some of this is simply a result of experience, but his improved jumper probably came into play here, too. Defenders needed to play him tighter on the perimeter to account for his jump shot, which in turn opened up additional passing lanes. Washington scored an additional 7.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the court last year, with much of the improvement tied to an increase in the number of uncontested three pointers that Wall's presence and vision created.

Defense: Wall's defense, while not bad, didn't improve at the same rate as his offense last year. Washington was only half a point per 100 possessions better defensively with Wall off the court last year. That's not great, but for a primary offensive weapon with a decent backup, it's not terrible. Wall gambled too much and had trouble staying with ultra-quick guards, but more or less did what was required of him.

Other stuff: Wall missed half of the season with a knee injury and, while there don't appear to be any lingering effects, it does raise questions about his durability. Wall is highly reliant on his quickness and, especially if the improved jumper is a fluke, any lingering injuries could really hurt his production.

Did he meet, exceed or fall short of expectations? Wall played well below expectations at first, then well above them at the end. On the whole, he was at or slightly above the level of play expected of him. That said, he had some very high expectations to live up to.

Overall: This is what we'd been waiting for. Wall looked every bit the franchise player he was drafted to be during the last few months of the season. He improved dramatically once his jumper started falling and appears set to take his place as one of the top five or six point guards in the NBA next year. Not too shabby, right?

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