Even if you’re sick of the “Are the Washington Wizards better without John Wall” debate, consider this: Since the Wizards lost their point guard, they’ve gone 10-3. They’re not beating all lottery teams, either – six of those wins are against teams currently in the playoffs.
But the most important stat for the Wizards during this stretch: They lead the NBA in assists per game during this 13-game stretch without their point guard.
In Tuesday’s win in Milwaukee, the Wizard had 30 assists. With Wall out, the Wizards are starting 6-foot-7 small forward Tomas Satoransky in his place, and are essentially playing without a point guard.
Shooting guard Bradley Beal does most of the ball handling, but each night, there’s no telling who will lead them in assists. Beal had eight vs Milwaukee. Satoransky had 10 in a blowout of the 76ers. Power forward Marcus Morris had eight in a loss to the Hornets, which was on the 2nd night of a back-to-back.
Beal has probably benefitted the most from Wall’s absence, unlocking his playmaking abilities, and enjoying his best all-around season so far, posting career-highs in rebounds (4.5), assists (4.4) and points (23.7).
Last year, with Wall playing the best season of his career (3rd team All-NBA), the Wizards won 49 games but lost in the 2nd round. The Wizards would need to finish just 13-8 the rest of the way to match last year’s win total.
You never want to overreact to a 3-week stretch. But when everyone gets better, don’t you have to at least explore the idea of a trade in the offseason? After last year’s career year, he’s back to being a 41% field goal shooter, his assists are down, and his scoring is, too. He’s shooting a career-worst 71% at the line.
What if last year was as good as he’ll get? This is his 8th year in the NBA, and he’s still largely the same player – not a 3-point shooter, will get you 19 points a game, and a bunch of assists, but the Wizards are no closer to contending.
Take a look at the Clippers. They lost Chris Paul and were expected to go in the tank. But Doc Rivers has done his best coaching job ever, and without CP3 and Blake Griffin, the Clippers are currently the 8th seed in the West despite a litany of injuries.
I’ll toss this out there: John Wall is a Klutch Sports client. If you’re the Wizards, do you call the Cavs and ask if they want Wall with eyes on that Nets pick? Kevin Love and the Nets pick is probably too much to ask for, unless the Wizards tossed in Kelly Oubre, who is only 22, and just starting to realize his potential (37 percent on 3-pointers, 11.9 ppg).