Guard Profile of John Wall: Q&A with Seth Partnow

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (either by your choice or your cult leader’s choice) you will have noticed that there are a lot of Hot Takes about what kind of point guard John Wall should be. But what kind of stats are out there to determine that?
Seth Partnow blew the doors off how we can look at point guards with his take at Nylon Calculus and then doubled down over at The Cauldron with his examination of how Wall is trying to be Chris Paul and how that is not working. Seth was very kind to answer a few questions about the what kind of PG Wall is and can be.

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Wall’s Shot:Assist Chance was 1:01, squarely in the middle of the pack. Even though his assists blossomed last year, do you think he needs to be more aggressive in his decision making?

Seth Partnow: “Aggressive” is a tough one. Do I think he needs to be more assertive in using his quickness to attack the feet of big men in the pick and roll? Yes. On the other hand, he’s not exactly shy about high degree of difficulty passes so I don’t want to offer a blanket statement beyond that if “aggressive” = “not shooting so many 18 footers off the dribble” I’m all for it.

On the Driving versus Probing section, Wall’s Drive percentage was 7.7%, on the lower end of the drive, and leaning him more towards a prober. What are the benefits and deficits of being a probing guard?

SP: In general, probing guards are lower turnover because driving gets you into traffic and charges and all that good stuff. On the other hand, driving gets you layups, free throws and assist chances. Wall already has the turnovers, so he’s getting little of the benefits from probing and all the downside, so why not attack?

Wall’s on-ball TOP% was top five in the league and his assits were a career high last season, but his Shot:Assist Chance seems low for the amount that the ball is in his hand. Should be be quicker to let the ball go?

SP: He doesn’t strike me as a guy who pounds the ball over much – in fact as I said in the article, a little MORE patience in terms of keeping his dribble alive and making a play would serve him well. I think with a guy like Pierce in the fold this year, that TOP will naturally drop, as it will the more Nene (an excellent facilitator from the post) can stay on the floor and healthy.

Wall’s 3PA/36 was 3.77, which makes his spacing look like roughly in the middle. Is it possible that his spacing is like that based on the way the offense runs? Last season he had two spot up shooters on the wings and one big that wasn’t mobile all the time.

SP: At least last year, Wall was a perfectly fine catch and shoot 3 point shooter. He’s never going to be Steph Curry, but giving his potential as a penetrator, that’s ok. Especially for a guy who can do as much with the ball as Wall, floor spacing is less important than for a more sedentary player.

In your Cauldron piece, you said he shouldn’t model himself after Chris Paul’s game. Who do you think he SHOULD model his game after?

SP: Westbrook isn’t quite right, because that’s maybe going to far the other direction, maybe Derrick Rose or a bigger, more durable TJ Ford. A more talented Jeff Teague?

Thanks to Seth for answering these questions. He is a MUST FOLLOW on twitter. Seriously, beware if you don’t.

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