Wall's perimeter shooting improvement: 'Crazy'

Wall's perimeter shooting improvement: 'Crazy'
March 26, 2013, 3:00 pm
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All 47 of John Wall's points against Memphis

Before Monday night's game against the Grizzlies, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said John Wall's recent stretch of games was "absolutely" the point guard's best in the NBA.

Wall's performance - 47 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 44 minutes - in Washington's 107-94 win over the league's top defensive team took his dynamic stretch up a notch.

The supposed suspect perimeter shooter has seemingly overnight taken that part of his game up dramatic levels. Diligent practice can often give that out-of-nowhere impression.

So, John, since you supposedly cannot make outside shots, care to explain why now you can't miss them?

"Just getting back into the gym, getting back into shape, getting my legs back under me," Wall said after sinking 13 of 22 field goal attempts including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. "Doing everything that I worked on this summer, doing it right now.

"It sucks that it had to be last month or two of the season to finally find my rhythm, but just showing my hard work pays off."

Wall certainly worked often against the Grizzlies. No longer saddled with an overt minutes limit, as was the case when he first returned from injury, Wall has played at least 44 minutes for the second time in three games. Without many of the rotation regulars including guards Bradley Beal and A.J. Price, Wittman has nowhere else to turn, but he knows there's a bigger picture to consider.

"We've still kind of tried to monitor that, not overdo it," Wittman said of Wall's minutes. "When he gets tired, you obviously have to get him out of the game. He's getting into better and better and better shape as we've moved forward here. That's always something you have to keep an eye on."

Wall started his shredding of Memphis defenders with five baskets in the first quarter, all on jumpers, his confidence oozing to near Kanye West levels with each make. Two 3-pointers came later -- or double the amount he knocked down over his first 27 games.

This was not a one-off performance, though a rather impressive one since the Grizzlies lead the league in scoring defense. This has been going on long enough where one might think what Chris Singleton said following the Wizards' sixth straight home win.

"Crazy two, three weeks," Singleton said about Wall's improved form. "Crazy. His shot completely changed. I guess that work in the summer paid off."

Wall started the season missing 16 of 17 3-point attempts. Seeing as the 6-foot-4 guard went 3 of 42 the previous season from beyond the arc, this year's misses were not stunning. Disappointing, frustrating, sure, but surprising not so much.

Then Wall, who missed the opening 33 games with a knee injury, began rounding into shape. His shot did the same. No volume shooter, but over his last nine games, Wall has made 7 of 9 3-point attempts.

What the coach wants his star player to keep an eye on is sustaining the course of action that brought him to this starry point. Do that and down the line the basketball world doesn't look back at nine games in March of 2013 and wonder how Wall did what he did.

"He's made it happen," Wittman said. "Now he has to realize why it happened and what he put into it, not deviate from that and continue to work... I'm happy for him. It's been a tough year for him, sitting out for three and a half months, getting thrown into the wolves not in shape and say go play John Wall basketball.

"We saw ups and downs, which I was not surprised at. It affected him some, getting down, not playing as well as he's capable of playing, but he's stuck with it, continued to work, put in the extra work and now we're seeing some dividends from that."