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The Best Of The Wizards From 2014-15, Vol. 2: Moving The Rock


Spreading the floor.


Back screens.

High pick and rolls

The list goes on.

What has made Washington such an exciting team to watch over the past few seasons is much more than John Wall scorching opponents in the open floor. It also has a lot to do with how well they move the basketball. The Wizards ranked 6th in the NBA in assists per game, which was evidenced the team’s high three-point and overall field goal percentages. Washington’s team personnel have bought into the concept of sharing the ball and creating easy opportunities for each other.

It’s easy to heap praise on John Wall – he was second in the league with 10.03 assists per game – but let’s take a look at how the team as a whole excelled at moving the rock this season.

The Orchestra.

In this clip against the Pistons, Wall is leading the break and launches a quarter court pass to a wide open Marcin Gortat under the rim. While Marcin could have dropped in an easy field goal at the rim against a much smaller defender, he kicks the ball out to Rasual Butler, who is camped in the corner for a nice three pointer. Marcin is a big who boasts great passing ability, and by the numbers, a corner trey is one of the most efficient shots in the game.

The Wall – Gortat Express, via Nene.

In another display of front court players helping create offense, we see here Nene grabbing the ball on a high screen, making the defense commit to him, and finding a cutting Gortat at the rim for an easy dunk. What gets the play started here is Wall’s impeccable timing. Greg Monroe doesn’t hedge hard, but Wall finds precisely the right moment to catch Nene as he opens up after the quick screen. The result is a bunch of Pistons jumbled in the paint. We’ll take that.

John Wall squeezes the rock between 3 Pistons and none of them saw it coming.

In this clip, we see another example of Wall drawing in the defense and finding an open Nene who’s able to finish for the layup. What makes this play happen is opponents’ new respect for Wall as an offensive player. Whereas he may have barreled toward the hoop earlier in this career, Wall now commands respect with his ability to switch speeds or pull up. The result is a patient pass for a high percentage field goal.

Oh. Brad can dish it, too.

Andre Miller (remember that guy?) is a point guard that has made his mark scoring more in the paint that outside of it. In this clip, Brad Beal draws two Bucks defenders at the elbow, but manages to wait patiently for Miller to cut and seal off the Jerryd Bayless for Miller’s layup. Again, patience and positioning are the key. Nearly all of the Bucks defenders are long and Beal did an excellent job waiting for a high percentage opportunity.

Dat extra pass.

The offense moves very well in this clip, which is another display of Wall initiating a play and Washington’s big men finishing. Kris Humphries makes the extra pass to Nene, who drops in a layup over a mess of Pacers players who are mostly out of position. What’s also noteworthy about this clip is the other options the Wizards had available. You’ll also notice that the floor was spaced so well that Otto Porter and Garrett Temple would have been options for wide open threes in either corner.

Basketball Made Easy, by John Wall.

The high screen makes another appearance in this scoring opportunity for Kris Humphries. As mentioned, Wall draws a little extra attention after screens now because of his scoring ability. He’s not exactly a dead-eye shooter on long twos, but big men who hedge have to think twice about simply leaving giving him a look at the basket. Here, Kris Humphries takes advantage of Blake Griffin’s brief pause and cuts to the basket for a nice bounce bass past Blake’s outstretched arm.

Wizards play hot potato against the Clippers.

In a fantastic display of ball movement here, the Wizards make three passes to find the best shot in the half court. Marcin Gortat is trailing on the break and watches the ball move from Paul Pierce, to Kris Humphries, back out to John Wall, and then firmly in his hands for a quick pop just outside the paint. Again, floor spacing makes this play happen. The Clippers defenders are not positioned well enough to disrupt any passing lanes, leaving Washington with multiple options to knock down a shot.

The House of Guards-Polish Coalition.

In the best display of transition ball movement, we see Brad Beal finding a wide open Nene at the end the break for an easy layup. John Wall and Brad Beal have been dangerous in the open floor since being paired together and here the Jazz have to respect the potential for Beal pulling up or going baseline for a score. The result is three defenders committing and Beal making the extra pass for the best shot possible – all 6’11” of Nene angling in a shot over Trey Burke.

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