It probably doesn't surprise anyone that John Wall leads all NBA players with 36 assists entering Monday's preseason action. That's even with the Washington Wizards point guard sitting out Saturday's road game in Milwaukee.
That Ramon Sessions is second on the assists list might be a tad shocking.
The Wizards' backup point guard has a robust 34 assists in five games (Wall's numbers are over four games). Credit Washington's up-tempo approach leading to more possessions and therefore more assist opportunities. On a per game basis, the Wizards technically have players ranked first (Wall, 9.0), fourth and fifth (Sessions, 6.8), though Garrett Temple (7.0) only played one game. Washington (4-1) leads the league with 29.8 assists per game.
However, let's also note that Sessions is making plays while directing the second unit. He's also making few mistakes. With only six turnovers, Sessions ranks third league-wide with a 5.8 assists-to-turnover ratio. The veteran guard, acquired for Andre Miller before the last season's NBA trading deadline, isn't just setting up teammates. Sessions leads the Wizards in total free throws attempted (22) and is shooting 90.9 percent (20 of 22) from the line.
The additions of Gary Neal, Alan Anderson and Kelly Oubre Jr. provide more shooting options off the bench. Nene's presence gives the unit a true interior focal point. Yet suspect play at point guard could derail the operation. At this point, Sessions appears on point with his backup floor leader role.
- Speaking of free throws, Oubre leads the team with 5.3 attempts per game. The rookie forward hasn't been shy about touting his ability to attack the rim. Talk is one thing, execution is another. Once at the line, he is sinking 71.4 percent of his attempts, which is essentially identical to the 71.8 clip during his lone season at Kansas. With the Jayhawks, Oubre took 3.1 free throws per game.
- As for the much discussed 3-point shooting, the Wizards are collectively shooting 37.3 percent (9.4-25.2). Among NBA teams, that ranks sixth while the 25.2 attempts is 11th.
- Among the players, Neal leads the way from deep with a 57.1 percent clip (8 of 14), followed by Otto Porter (5 of 9), non-roster invitee Josh Harrellson (5 of 10) and Bradley Beal (9 of 21). On the other end, Oubre is only 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. Kris Humphries is shooting 30 percent (6 of 20)
- When it comes to points allowed, we've learned in recent years to focus more on rating (points per 100 possessions) than purely total points surrendered. Overall, the Wizards are fifth in the NBA with a net rating (offense minus defense) of 11.7.
- Lastly, don't put much conviction into any of the stats mentioned above considering 1) preseason and 2) the opponents; three of the five games came against the 76ers and a Brazilian club team. That makes it harder to assess may of the numbers to this point, but for the most part the style, the approach is positive.