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Daily Digits: Keeping pace with John Wall

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New York Knicks v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at a stat about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add some context, and discuss how it affects the product on the court.

Today’s stat is the Wizards’ average number of possessions per 48 minutes with John Wall on the floor last season, which was...

101.09

The NBA released the results of their annual GM survey on Wednesday, and there wasn’t much to discuss regarding the Wizards. One of the only times a Wizard showed up in the voting is when John Wall got votes for which player was the fastest with the ball in his hands. He finished second to Russell Westbrook, with 33 percent of the vote. It’s the first time Wall has gotten less than 40 percent of the vote since 2013-14, when the 23-year-old Wall finished fourth behind Russell Westbrook (WHO WAS COMING OFF A KNEE INJURY), Derrick Rose (WHO WAS COMING OFF TWO KNEE INJURIES), and Ty Lawson.

Even though the league doesn’t see him as the speedster they once did, the Wizards played at the fastest pace they’ve ever played at with Wall on the floor last season. In fact, Wall’s pace has steadily risen since his sophomore season, but so has the league’s average pace. Here’s a look at how pace has changed since 2011:

As you can see, Wall has stayed ahead of the curve, but after creating some distance in 2015-16, the field started to catch back up last season. As they caught up, they limited Wall and the Wizards’ ability to strike in transition.

Last season, Wall only averaged 3.4 fast break points per game, after averaging at least 4.9 per game in every other season of his career. The team as a whole only averaged 12.4 fast break points per 100 possessions with Wall on the floor last season after averaging at least 17 fast break points per 100 possessions in each season of his career up to that point.

Certainly, Wall’s injuries had an impact on his ability to exploit opportunities in transition. Getting healthy will allow him to finish more effectively in traffic than he did last season. But as he gets his legs back under him, he’ll have to push harder than ever to stay ahead of a league that’s trying to chase him down.