clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

John Wall's career-best performance could have been even better if teammates had converted more assist opportunities

We take a quick look at how many assists John Wall could have dished on a special night.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

John Wall had a career-high 19 assists in Monday's big win against the Sacramento Kings. It's a great performance from the Wizards' franchise player.

But after seeing a couple plays like these,

it also raises the "glass half empty" approach. In fact, multiple readers talked about Wall's missed assist opportunities last night. Just how many assists could Wall have had on Sunday night?

The good news is that we can get a good idea by analyzing Wall's passing stats from Monday night. Below is a table of the passing statistics to each of the six players he passed to on Monday:

Marcin Gortat 10 10 12 83.33% 2 83.33%
Jared Dudley 3 3 5 60.00% 2 60.00%
Kris Humphries 2 2 3 66.67% 1 66.67%
Garrett Temple 2 2 7 28.57% 5 28.57%
Kelly Oubre 1 1 1 100.00% 0 100.00%
Ramon Sessions 1 3 5 60.00% 4 20.00%
19 21 33 63.64% 14 57.58%

The bottom line from the table is that Wall had 14 missed assists on Monday night. Therefore, he could have had 33 assists vs. the Kings. If Wall did, that number would have broken then-Orlando Magic guard Scott Skiles' record of 30 on December 30, 1990 in a 155-116 win over the Denver Nuggets.

That said, it's a bit unfair to expect that Wall would really get 33 assists. First, all of his teammates would have had to make every field goal attempt from one of his passes. Second, they would have to take a shot very quickly after receiving a pass. Third, Skiles' Magic squad shot the ball 107 times and played at a very fast pace (125.3) in their game  while Wall's Wizards shot the ball just 83 times.

The missed assist statistic in the above table may be inflated, depending on how you look at context once you view the video. But based on the SportVU statistics above, we objectively define a missed assist as one of the following:

  • ANY missed field goal from a Wall pass - This is obvious, but this includes situations when a player receives a pass from Wall, dribbles too many times, and then misses a shot.
  • ANY made field goal from a Wall pass that was unassisted - From the data table above, Wall's teammates made 21 shots from his passes, but only 19 were assisted. This is because Ramon Sessions made two shots directly from Wall's passes, but were unassisted because he dribbled the ball too many times before taking and making a shot.

So, what are we supposed to make of the missed assists? It's mildly disappointing to see that Gortat especially missed a couple easy shots right at the basket that could have given him as many as 21 assists.

But in the end, Wall played an excellent game as the Wizards' floor general on Monday night and his teammates were taking good advantage of the opportunities that he gave them for a much-needed victory. Let's watch those highlights again: