How long until defenses adjust to Wall?

How long until defenses adjust to Wall?
November 27, 2013, 4:15 pm
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John Wall throws down 360 dunk vs. Lakers

The defensive plan against John Wall during the point guard's three-plus seasons has been obvious: give him the jumper.

Nobody, not even Wall would argue otherwise.

"Some teams test me early," he said following the Wizards' 116-111 win over the Lakers on Tuesday night. "That's what you do to a guy who's not known as a consistent shooter. You test him early to see how he's going and if he's making it, adjust to it."

Now that he's had a run of three straight 30-point games with a bevy of perimeter shots part of the scoring arsenal, the question becomes when do teams change that plan. In a general sense, Mike D'Antoni says no time soon.

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"You have to gauge it. I don't think you can change it every night," the Lakers coach said shortly after Wall scored 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter. The quick-ain't-fair guard sank three straight jumpers inside the final five minutes ranging from 15-19 feet out.

"He's going to have to do that for a couple of years because the alternative is you get up on him and he blows by you," D'Antoni lamented.

What stood out lately and against the Lakers wasn't just the makes but the type of shots. Rather than drift beyond the 3-point arc, Wall attacked and found mid-range looks. That wasn't the case earlier this season.

During the Wizards 2-7 start, Wall took at least three 3's every game, averaging 4.1 attempts. Over the last five games, Wall hasn't taken more than two three-pointers in any contest, averaging 1.6 attempts. In the recent span, being more selective has led to improved accuracy (40 percent on 3 of 8 shots). In that span, Washington is 4-1.

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Heading into Wednesday's game at Milwaukee, the question is when teams will adjust.

"Let's hope they don't," Wizards coach Randy Wittman cracked following Tuesday's win. "Everybody watches film. We're going to see something different, if not tomorrow night then the next night. Those are adjustment everybody makes. We're ready for those adjustments."

That's not to say teams only go under picks now when Wall has the ball.

"Sometimes [they] switch it up and go over the top and force me to pass the ball, get the ball out of my hands by trapping me," said the player ranked second in the NBA with 8.9 assists. "It all depends on who I'm playing."

Told of D'Antoni's comments, Wall smiled. "I'm not Stephen Curry that deadly with pull-ups in transition from deep. I think teams are testing me...I just have to knock shots down."

Wall makes a good point. As a perimeter shooter, he's no Steph Curry. Lately, he's not the historic version of John Wall either.