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Daily Digits: Trimming the bad jumpers out of John Wall’s game

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Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at stats 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 John Wall’s field goal percentage on mid-range jumpers taken early in the shot clock (defined by NBA.com as shots taken with 15-18 seconds left on the shot clock), which was...

29.6%

Scott Brooks has been encouraging the Wizards to eschew midrange jumpers—especially early in the shot clock—and take more threes this season. So far, the message appears to be getting through. They shot 38 long balls on Monday and shot 39 in Friday’s win over the Heat.

The remarkable thing is the Wizards shot 57 percent on mid-range shots early in the shot clock—the second-best percentage in the league last season. It was actually a very efficient sliver of their offense last season. Every Wizard who took at least 20 mid-range shots early in the shot clock shot at least 58 percent on those shots—a percentage any coach will take any day of the week—except Wall, who was 8-for-27 on those shots last season.

If you broaden the scope to include any mid-range jump shot taken with more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock, Wall was just 12-for-51 (23.5 percent) last season. Turning those wasted possessions into anything else would be a step in the right direction for the Wizards.

Thankfully, Wall appears to be on board with making the adjustment based on what he said to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

“If it’s an early shot clock situation, try to shoot threes, not try to shoot deep twos,” point guard John Wall said. “So trying to get situated with that. A couple times in practice I’m like, ‘Oh, am I supposed to shoot this shot? Am I not supposed to shoot this shot?’ But I can still take the shot, [Brooks] just don’t want it early on in the shot clock unless it’s a layup or a three, which is understandable. I think all of us are just trying to get adjusted to that type of style of play.”

So far, the numbers bear out that he’s making changes. He’s only attempted two mid-range jumpers in 33 minutes of action, and both came late in the shot clock. If Wall can stay committed to trimming that part out of his game, hopefully it will have a cascading effect on the rest of the team to encourage them to cut back in spots where they’re inefficient.