Player Capsules 2012, #277-279: John Wall, Andrei Kirilenko, Iman Shumpert

As our summer mainstay, Aaron was writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. As the summer dies down and the leaves turn, this quixotic quest of a series has happily reached the last third. But it's certainly not done yet! Today we continue with John Wall, Andrei Kirilenko, and Iman Shumpert.

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Follow John Wall on Twitter at @John_Wall.

John Wall had decent numbers last year, in the vacuum of the traditional box score. He posted averages of 16-5-8, which are downright excellent for a point guard, in 36 minutes a night. He started in all 66 games, which isn't actually as common as you think for points -- most tend to miss a few games here and there. Last season, only four guys did it! He put up excellent passing numbers (which is all the more impressive given the awful players he was passing to), showed positive signs defensively (watch him on defense when you get a chance -- promise you'll be happily surprised, he's a far better defender than anyone seems to realize), and showed the same electric energy he did his rookie year despite suffering through a lingering injury to his left patella. When healthy, he changed the game for a dismal Wizards team. When injured, he still changed the game for a dismal Wizards team, because he was just that good.

Except, well, his shooting.

The one flaw in Wall's game -- and yes, it's a really huge one -- is that he can't shoot to save his life. John Wall shot 62% at the rim last season, which was well above average for point guards. He took almost 45% of his shots at the rim, which was (again) well above average. So all that is very good. But Wall shot 42% overall because he was utterly horrible from every other area of the court. He made 3-of-42 threes -- 7%! He made 72 of 252 long two pointers -- 29%! He shouldn't have taken that many, but that's what the defense gave the Wizards -- if you played off Wall in the pick and roll and goaded him into a wide open long two, the general strategy of 90% of teams last season, he'd inevitably shank it. If he got caught on an island outside the arc with no defenders within 7 feet, he'd miss the three. Badly. When he gets to the rim, Wall's athleticism and skill take over, and he destroys anyone who tries to block it. But when he's trying to take a shot, he has a strange hitch and a bad penchant for fadeaways-where-unnecessary that completely destroys his angle. He can't get a consistent arc and he can't get anything to go down consistently. If he could develop even a remotely passable jump shot, a la Derrick Rose in his third year, Wall could be a perennial all-star. But he needs to develop that shot to do it -- his passing, defense, fast break talents, leadership, and at-rim mastery are fantastic, but none of those things are Rondo-level transcendent. They don't make up for his poor shooting, they just bring him from a poor player to a decent one -- to take that next step, he needs a shot.

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