In the Bonus: Wall's game still evolving

In the Bonus: Wall's game still evolving
January 22, 2014, 3:00 pm
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WASHINGTON — When John Wall came into the NBA, he was an ultra-quick blur with the basketball.

He still has the speed, but he's added a few more weapons to the arsenal. Namely, a jump shot.

Wall has improved in just about every statistical category, and has been a big reason for the Wizards (20-20) being a legitimate playoff contender this season.

The 6-foot-4 point guard has recognized the need to better re-distribute his shot selection relative to how his game has evolved. Last season, he relied heavily on his ability to beat players off the dribble with 50.6 percent of his shots taken being inside the paint. This season, only 39.7 percent of his shots are in the paint.

When he wasn't driving into the lane, Wall was pulling up for mid-range jumpers which represented 43.3 percent of his shots last season.

The most marked change in Wall's game has to do with three-pointers. Last season, only 6.1 percent of his shots came from long-range. Now? The three-ball represents 21.7 percent of his shots taken which is understandable when you consider he's shooting a career-best 32.6 percent this season -- up from 26.7 percent a year ago.

And while the three-pointer has become a more integral part of Wall's scoring, he's shooting the ball well in all three of the main scoring zones -- paint, mid-range and three-point land.

On mid-range shots, he's up slightly to 38.7 percent from 38.4 last season and on shots in the paint, he's connecting on 52.9 percent compared to last season's 51.1 percent average.

Prior to the start of the season, Wall identified the need to improve his shooting but wasn't locked into necessarily becoming more of a three-point threat.

"I don't really think it's the three that's really going to open up my game but it'd be great to add that to my game," Wall told reporters earlier this season. "I feel like just being able to knock down midrange [jumpers] and make it tough in pick and roll situations when guys got to go over the top instead of going underneath."

And in doing so, Wall continues to lead the Wizards closer to his number one goal this season: getting to the postseason.

"I got a lot of expectations but I keep them to myself," he said. "The big one is the playoffs."