Wizards hit a wall, target perimeter help

June, 26, 2012
6/26/12
1:43
PM ET
By Ryan Feldman, ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN.com

Brad Mills/US PresswireThe Wizards need help in the backcourt, where John Wall ranked last in the NBA in points per play.
The Washington Wizards didn’t win three games in a row all season before ending with a six-game win streak. With positive momentum on their side, the Wizards have an opportunity to improve on the perimeter in the NBA Draft.

SHOOTING
The Wizards were among the worst outside shooting teams in the NBA. They shot 32 percent on 3-point attempts, which ranked third-worst in the league.

Despite relying on spot-up jumpers more than any other play type, the Wizards were the third-worst spot-up team. They averaged 0.88 points per spot-up play and shot 36 percent on those shot attempts. Only the Charlotte Bobcats and Sacramento Kings shot worse and were more inefficient on spot-up plays.

PICK-AND-ROLL BALL-HANDLERS
Only four teams averaged fewer points per play this season on pick-and-roll ball-handler plays. The Wizards averaged just 0.72 points per play and shot 37 percent when the ball-handler held onto the ball in pick-and-roll situations.

The Wizards relied on John Wall as their primary ball-handler with over 30 percent of his offense coming from the pick-and-roll. Wall averaged 0.69 points per play and shot 36 percent as the pick-and-roll ball-handler, both of which ranked last in the NBA (min. 200 plays).

INEFFICIENT BACKCOURT
The Wizards backcourt wasn’t just inefficient in pick-and-roll situations. Among the 40 players with at least 1,000 plays this season, Jordan Crawford ranked 38th and Wall ranked 40th in points per play.

The Wizards also had the third-worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA this season and the fourth-lowest percentage of assisted field goals.

TOP DRAFT TARGETS
Based on their statistical weaknesses, the Wizards should focus on improving their backcourt in the NBA Draft. The top guard prospect is Bradley Beal, who wasn’t incredibly efficient as a freshman. But Beal improved in the NCAA Tournament.

Beal averaged 1.15 points per play during the NCAA Tournament, which would have ranked in the top-3 percentile during the regular season. His adjusted field-goal percentage of 71 percent would have ranked best in the country during the regular season.

The other top backcourt option would be Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the fourth-most efficient scorer in college basketball this season among the 174 players with at least 500 plays.

Lillard could especially help the Wizards in the pick-and-roll, where he averaged the fifth-most points per play in the country (min. 100 plays). But would the Wizards want to pair Lillard, a 6-foot-2 point guard, with Wall, their franchise point guard drafted No. 1 overall in 2010?

The Wizards could also improve at small forward, where Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely both ranked in the bottom 50 percent of the NBA in points per play. The top options could be North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, neither of which ranked in the top-25 percentile this season in points per play.

Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.

Get the information you need to be ready for the draft and follow the action Thursday night @ESPNStatsInfo.

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