Physical contact throws off Wall on drives

Physical contact throws off Wall on drives
December 11, 2013, 11:30 am
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(USA TODAY Sports)

John Wall is having trouble finishing at the basket, and Monday he swore that when he lost the ball on what could've been the game-winning drive it was because he was fouled by Nate Robinson of the Denver Nuggets. 

"Same thing that was happening all game but I didn't get it called," Wall said. "Nate Robinson was grabbing my arm every time I went by him. That's how I lost the ball. No call. You lose a tough game that way."

True, Robinson can be seeing grasping at Wall's arm on the catch. But it's also true that the foul had to be more significant for the officials to blow a whistle, as coach Randy Wittman has insisted to his team when they opened the season losing seven of nine games. The Wizards lost 75-74 as the clock expired.

A similar situation happened when Wall inbounded the ball to Marcin Gortat, who gave it back in Oklahoma City with the Wizards trailing 106-105 in overtime. This time, Wall caught the ball cleanly but was struck across the forearm by Jeremy Lamb on the move. Wall still had an uncontested look and completely overshot the rim. He complained about that no-call then as well.

Going into Wednesday's games, Wall's inability to finish on drives -- according to the SVU player tracking by the NBA, that's any touch that begins at least 20 feet from the basket and taken within 10 feet, excluding fast breaks -- is evident not just in those key plays but overall:

  •  Wall shoots just 35.7% in this situation, putting him 44th overall among players with at least 80 drives
  • By comparison: Monta Ellis (Mavericks) finishes 48.7%; Ty Lawson (Nuggets) is 50%; J.J. Barea (Timberwolves) is 53.7%; Mike Conley (Grizzlies) finishes at 55.6%; Tony Parker (Spurs) is 60%; and the top two are Evan Turner (76ers) with 62.9% and Jeremy Lin (Rockets) at 65.4%. Turner is the only one who isn't a point guard. 
  • Wall averages 5.5 drives per game, significantly fewer than Lawson (11.1) and Ellis (10.4).
  • Chris Paul, who has stats similar to Wall's as both are pass-first point guards who get a lot of open-court buckets which isn't part of this formula, drives 4.9 times per game. While Paul has generated slightly fewer points overall when compared with Wall on drives (53 to 49), he finishes at a much higher clip by shooting 51.2%.
  • Ellis has produced the most points on drives, by far, with 172. Turner is second at 156 and the next closest point guard is Ramon Sessions (Bobcats) at 133, third overall.