11.5 points per game (a drop of 8 from the regular season and 6 from the 1st round), 7.5 assists per game-but matched by 3.5 turnovers per game-, under 3 rebounds per game, and worst of all, the shooting.
John Wall is shooting 31.4% from the field against the Pacers, and .091% from 3 (1-11). There is a difference between a guy struggling in his first playoffs, and flat out failing his team, and Wall has done the latter. His defense has also been unusually subpar: George Hill, his opponent, is averaging 14 point per game on 48.5% shooting, and has soundly outplayed him.
We can talk all we want about inexperience and age, but the simple fact is that Wall is supposed to be this team's best player, and has instead been probably the 4th or 5th best starter depending on how you view Gortat's performance. As soon as he got that maximum contract, and as soon as he made that all star team, expectations for him went up. That means he should not be absolved of blame for his performance. When Tony Parker was struggling in his early playoff runs, do you think Pop went around saying, "Yeah, he is just 21 and isn't used to this yet, so he is gonna be let off the hook". HELL NO. The only way for players to improve is to demand more, and letting Wall off the hook will actually set him back. He needs to sit down and acknowledge that this series is on him. There are other factors involved, but lets be real, it is on him for the most part (Gortat and Nene should join him).
It is not even the statistics or the results, but the way he has moped about doing them. He is supposed to be the best on this team, the leader, and instead he has been disengaged, hesitant, and worried. So he needs to man up, say sorry to his teammates and fans, tell them he will do better next year, and then have one hell of an offseason. He is going to remain this team's leader and its most important player- any talk about trading him or him not being worth the max is silly talk-but he needs to confront his play and then work his ass off to make it right again.
Also, about the rubbish people are spouting with the "Pacers are so much more talented".... please. Lets go through the roster one by one and we will see just how uneven it is.
Wall is an all star, a franchise PG, widely considered a borderline top 10 or even 5 at his position, George Hill is usually mentioned in the bottom 5, a guy who is more of a 3 and D at guard than a real point.
Beal has unquestionably outplayed Stephenson this series, and is overall just a better player.
Paul George is an all star borderline superstar, Ariza is a good 3 and D guy.
Nene and David West were thought to be relatively equivalent coming into this series, and judging by stats and just the eye test would tell you that West is more consistent, but Nene probably a higher range than West at this point. Nonetheless, West has demolished Nene.
An engaged and active Hibbert vs Gortat is a no doubter advantage for Indiana, but Hibbert is not some kind of offensive wiz, even at the start of the season when he was playing well. Gortat should have been able to hold his own.
Basically, that gives each team one huge advantage (Wall over Hill, George over Ariza), one nice advantage (Beal over Stephenson, Hibbert over Gortat) and a toss-up. I saw someone post that the Pacers have more talent at "every position" once Hibbert was engaged. Um what?
The benches don't even really need explaining. Ours has been mediocre the entire year but has outplayed theirs almost every prolonged action. Scola and Turner have been miserable for them, and guys like Mahinmi and Watson haven't made much an impact either. Basically, our bench is better than theirs.
So where is the issue? On paper, this team should be even or better than them. The problem is that Wall failed to show up, and our biggest advantage turned into a matchup nightmare FOR THE WIZARDS. Yes, Gortat and Nene have been shown up as well, but they weren't the guys with huge mismatches. Wall was, and he is the reason we are going to lose this series.
Again, there should be no talk about trading Wall, or complaining about his deal, or anything like that. But there should be an acknowledgement that he is the culprit in this series, and excuses should not be made. When you are the best player and leader on a team and then struggle when the going gets tough, excuses should not pop out of mid air. Wall will learn and he will get better from this experience (hopefully), but to say I am disappointed is an understatement.
Also, this series is not over yet, and I think this team still has a chance to pull it out. But they need Wall to play at a level he has been unable to reach in these playoffs, and I dont think he will be able to manage it. We will see though, and I would love for this whole post to be proven wrong.