Playing with John Wall as a three point shooter tends to get people paid.
Martell Webster became a full mid-level exception player after his career was clinging for life through stints with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Trevor Ariza got the biggest deal of his career with the Houston Rockets and is now a key cog on a championship-contending team after having a career year from deep with Wall.
Both players became great three point shooters, one way or another. Webster came into the league with a proficient shot and Ariza developed one during his stint in Washington. Both saw a huge boost to how many open looks they were getting on the perimeter because of Wall, most notably in the corners.
The question after Ariza left the team was simple: who would be his replacement? Ariza proved to be a perfect match with Wall offensively because of his ability to run in transition and hit the corner three ball with ease. Plus, he could take the toughest perimeter defensive assignment at any given moment.
It is hard to find good 3-and-D guys in the NBA today. In a game where penetration and collapsing the defense is so important, you need shooters on the outside who don't serve as negative players on the other end. It was essential for Washington to fill that role with someone else.
So far this season, they found someone who fits the bill, but it's been an very surprising candidate.
Garrett Temple is shooting 52 percent from deep after shooting just 21 percent from three last season. Temple somehow has been Washington's go-to guy for three point shooting with Bradley Beal's absence.
Temple always believed he had this capability, as he told our Mike Prada that just needed to get his confidence up and be meticulous about subtle things like having his hands ready and sticking his landing on his shot. But there are some other factors that go into his improved marksmanship.
Temple is averaging 2.6 catch and shoot threes per game, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. About 55 percent of Temples 9.8 shots per game have been from beyond the arc. Out of Temple's 9.8 shots per game, about 34 percent of those shots are coming with a defender at least six feet away from him, according to NBA.com's player tracking database. A large majority of that 34 percent is coming from beyond the arch.
That means there is action on the floor that frees Temple up for those three point attempts he is knocking down at a scorching rate. About 73 percent of Temple's field goals have been assisted on through five games this season. Temple has not had to create his own shot throughout his stint in Washington, and that hasn't changed.
But here is what has: He has been thrown into the starting lineup alongside John Wall. Wall is getting Temple most of those looks.
This season, Wall and Temple have played 162 minutes together as a two-man combination and have outscored opponents by 17.5 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball-Reference's lineup data. That figure has already eclipsed the 110 minutes Wall and Temple played together last season, where they were outscored by -0.1 points per 100 possessions.
The sample this season is already much larger and Temple is making the most of his opportunity of playing beside Wall. Wall has created 3.8 three point field goal attempts per game for Temple through just five games this season. Wall assists on 2.2 Temple field goals per game and 57.5 percent of Temple's passes received have come from Wall.
Temple has been the beneficiary of plays just like this one against the New York Knicks.
This type of play to get a corner three has been a staple in Washington's offense over the last couple of years. It capitalizes on the three point shooting around Wall and Wall's ability to accurately complete skip passes.
Notice how Drew Gooden sets a subtle screen for Temple to help him flare into the corner cleanly.
Temple is freed up for a wide open three point shot without a defender within six feet to contest. The only available defender to help has his attention on Wall's penetration in the paint.
Once the Knicks realize what is going on, it's too late. Temple is already starting his shooting motion off of the catch.
Those are the type of things Washington is doing to free up wide open threes for Temple.
But Temple has also done a great job of being in the right positions while running in transition with Wall. Take a look at this Temple three from last night against the Pacers. He fills the lane correctly and gets a wide open look because of it.
Temple fills the right wing slot with Wall darting down the floor and Marcin Gortat trailing him. Only two Pacers defenders got back on defense, so there will be an open look on this play somewhere unless the ball is stopped.
Temple got himself an easy and wide open look because of Wall's push of the ball and Gortat trailing behind him. Temple smartly positions himself where the defense is not and makes himself available for another three.
Again, there isn't a defender within six feet of Temple, so these are the same looks Ariza got from deep last season. About 32 percent of Ariza's looks last season were without a defender within six or less feet of him, and 27 of that 32 percentcame from beyond the arc. Wall assisted on 2.1 of Ariza's field goals per game last season and 48 percent of the passes Ariza received came from Wall. Ariza hit more threes above the break than he did from the corners, but the idea here is still the same.
Though Washington probably did not plan on having Temple as a long-term solution for replacing Ariza, his defensive skill and his improved shooting touch should keep him as a mainstay in the rotation throughout the season. He won't supplant Bradley Beal as a starter once he returns, but it would be surprising if he does not play at least 23 minutes per game.