There's no getting around the fact that John Wall makes the players around him better. Time after time, we've seen how the fortunes of players tend to rise and fall depending on how much time they get to play alongside Wall.
Over the past two seasons, we've seen how Wall has helped get Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Trevor Booker nice contracts. We've also seen how he's been able to revitalize Nene's career and in hindsight, get more out of JaVale McGee than anyone else.
This season, Wall has played with some new players that offer different skillsets than what Wall has been accustomed to in his career. Here's what we've learned this season about how Wall affects the performance of his teammates.
Marcin Gortat is the biggest benefactor of the John Wall Effect
You were probably expecting to see a wing player here, right? Someone who would benefit from all those crosscourt passes for corner threes? Well, that's not quite the case:
|eFG% difference with Wall on the court
Yes, Webster also improves drastically alongside Wall, but he also has played considerably less minutes this season, and didn't have the benefit of getting some run in with the bench unit when they were more effective earlier in the season. It's probably fair to assume the on/off difference wouldn't be quite as high if Webster had a chance to play in some of the Wizards' early-season wins.
As for why Humphries and Temple's shooting percentages go down alongside Wall, your guess is as good as ours.
Otto Porter is much better alongside John Wall, but not for the reason you might expect
Unlike some of the team's other key players, Porter's numbers have been almost identically split between playing with Wall (559 minutes) and without him (546 minutes), so he's good case study on the Wall Effect.
As you can see above, Porter's effective field goal percentage goes up significantly when he plays with Wall. The biggest reason for the increase is Wall is better at taking advantage of Porter's effectiveness in transition. According to NBA.com, Porter is shooting 66 percent from the field in transition and ranks in the 94th percentile when it comes to scoring in transition.
Surprisingly, Porter's three point percentage goes down playing alongside Wall, from 34 to 30 percent. But on the flipside, Porter has taken nearly twice as many attempts from beyond the arc with Wall than without him. So at the end of the day, even though he's below-average beyond the arc, it's good for him because it gets him away from taking less-valuable midrange shots that he shoots almost as poorly.
Everyone's usage goes down playing alongside Wall, expect for Marcin Gortat and Paul Pierce
As you'd expect more of the offense is going to run through the point guard when John Wall is on the court, as opposed to Andre Miller or Ramon Sessions. Surprisingly, Marcin Gortat's usage rate (a calculation of what percentage of possessions a player finishes by with a shot attempt, free throw or turnover) remains exactly the same whether or not Wall is on the court or not. You'd think those numbers would go down given how well Wall & Gortat work on the pick and roll and in transition, but that's not the case. Considering how badly his shooting falls off with Wall off the court, that's something the Wizards should try to tidy up moving forward.
Pierce's usage rate actually goes up. In the 39 minutes this season when Pierce has been on the court without Wall, his usage rate shrinks to 14.2 percent, down from the 21 percent he uses with Wall. We're assuming a big part of the drop is the small sample size, but it's concerning to see Pierce become so docile with Wall off the court, considering that's when the Wizards need his playmaking the most.