The Washington Wizards, like all NBA teams, do a lot of work with analytics and very specific situational statistics when making personnel decisions. This is an area they have beefed up in recent years, as Ted Leonsis told Bullets Forever in our Q&A.
With that in mind, this stat by NBA.com's John Schuhmann regarding John Wall's assists last season is pretty intriguing.
Here's a fascinating one: The league leader in assists on corner 3s was, by far, John Wall (77). Rondo was next w/ 59.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) September 19, 2012
As someone with a history of overanalyzing Wall's assist opportunities, this one definitely jumped out at me. When you dive deeper into the numbers, there are some interesting conclusions to make.
For one, it paints some of their personnel decisions in a new light. Look at some of the splits of the Wizards' current perimeter players, via NBA.com's advanced stats page. The second-to-last row is the players' corner three-point percentage last year. The last row is their above-the-break three-point percentage last season.
(An aside: this is a great image to cite if you believe that Crawford can become efficient simply by making slight alterations to his shot distribution).
Besides Singleton, we're talking about four players whose percentages last year trended very heavily upward on corner three-point attempts as opposed to above-the-break three-point attempts. I don't think this is a coincidence. The Wizards probably saw that their point guard is particularly adept at assisting on corner three-pointers, and while they don't have great overall three-point shooters, they do have good corner three-point shooters. At the very least, they will be decent at that one kind of shot.
Of course, this is far more complicated than I'm painting it. For example, by my count, 36 of Wall's 77 corner three-point assists were on transition plays, according to MySynergySports.com. Several players, especially Ariza, will need to learn how to run to the three-point line instead of always running all the way to the rim. It's also worth noting that the Wizards' two best corner three-point shooters, Nick Young (48 percent) and Roger Mason (51 percent), are on other teams.
But at the very least, the Wizards will have poor three-point shooters that are less poor at shooting corner threes, which matches up to their star's strength as a player. Going forward, my hope is they will use this stat as a reason to corner (pun intended) the market on the best corner three-point shooters, rather than just finding shooters who are better at shooting corner threes than above-the-break threes.