The numbers simply are not good. At all.
John Wall is shooting 35.3 percent this preseason (29-of-82) overall and 11.7 percent (2-of-17) from three. Against Cleveland Wednesday he was 1-of-7, the night before 5-of-11 against the Pistons, and in those games combined he was 3-of-13 outside the paint. (It’s preseason, some advanced stats and shot location data I’d love to add here is not available.)
That would be John Wall, he of the new $80 million max contract (sorry John, but if you struggle this season that number is going to come up a lot). That would be John Wall, the guy the entire Wizards offense and playoff hopes are built around.
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Wall’s shot has regressed this preseason. It’s preseason and he’s experimenting with stuff, but those numbers still send up a red flag.
“I feel like there are great shots. They’re just not going in right now. I’ve still got the same confidence,” Wall said when I asked him about his accuracy problems after he went 6-for-15 vs. the New York Knicks a week ago. “The same thing I worked on. Just keep shooting. It’s preseason. There are other things to work on. Get your kinks out.”
It’s preseason, we can’t say that enough. Do not reach for the panic button, Washington. The lineups he plays with will settle down and he will get looks he wants. Maybe his shooting percentage when the games matter will climb back up.
But it’s not going to be easy — the Wizards first eight games include on the road at Detroit, at Miami, Brooklyn, at Oklahoma City, at Dallas, at San Antonio. There are some good defensive teams on that list that can make life difficult for a point guard. Especially one struggling with his shot.
It may not be fair that a slow start, or for that matter the entirety of the Wizards season, will be placed on Wall’s shoulders, but that’s what comes with a max contract. It’s his team now. If his shots don’t fall when the games matter that spotlight is going to get brighter.