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Morning tip: Dissecting decision for John Wall to take final shot

Morning tip: Dissecting decision for John Wall to take final shot

The tip-in by Marcus Morris to beat the Wizards raises a lot of questions about how they closed a game that they once trailed by 16 points in the third quarter only to lead at the end.

The Detroit Pistons won 113-112 Saturday, but it was the last offensive possession that's worth being looked at again.

Coach Scott Brooks wasn't asked about it postgame, but given the shot John Wall took he should've been. 

Had the Wizards gotten two points, the only way Detroit beats them is with a three-pointer which is much easier to defend. Instead, any shot beats them. 

Unlike when Wall made the first game-winner of his career Jan. 10 vs. the Chicago Bulls, this wasn't the same situation. He took a jump shot in that game, and he was being contested by a 7-footer, but that was a much better look. 

Let's compare:

Andre Drummond is playing so far back and Reggie Jackson is aggressive in getting up on Wall to get around Markieff Morris' screen. Drummond's containment is there and Jackson is locked and trailing, but they completely ignore Morris. If Wall makes the pass, the Wizards have multiple options here. First, Morris has a wide-open three that could make it a two-possession game. He was 2-for-5 from deep in the game at that point. If Drummond steps up to close out Morris, he's easily beaten off the dribble and to the rim. If Wall drives all the way with Jackson trailing, the likelihood that he gets a whistle on any contact is rare in this situation. It's a low-percentage shot. The better option to get Wall 1 vs. 1 with Drummond or take Jackson out of the play is to pass back to Morris and reset. Wall can execute a dribble-handoff as Morris effectively acts as a screen. Wall would be going into the paint at full speed grabbing the ball. He'd be stepping into a jump shot or catching Drummond squaring up and unable to contest. If Drummond were to step up, that's Morris' cue to dive to the rim for the cleanup of a miss in a size mismatch with Jackson. More likely, Jackson sticks with Wall to double-team him and Morris could get a late delivery at the rim for an uncontested shot. Who knows how Detroit adjusts, if at all, but the result here is a stepback, low-percentage jumper that's a tough shot even for the likes of Kyrie Irving. It bails out the defense rather than re-applying the pressure. 

This was the winner Wall made, the first in his career, in a 101-99 win over the Bulls on Jan. 10. The backstory here was the Bulls continually switched on pick-and-rolls as long as Marcin Gortat set a solid screen on Michael Carter-Williams. That left Wall vs. Robin Lopez. But also look at the spacing of the floor here vs. the previous example. There are three defenders on the strong side vs. Detroit. In this one it's 2 vs. 2. There's a lot of room for Wall to operate, and even though he still takes a difficult shot he's going to his strongside when it comes to taking pull-up jump shots -- his right. Lopez has no help and is playing deep, Wall is able to get the needed separation and fade to drain it with five seconds left. 

Brooks always talks about not caring about who takes the final shot, be it Wall, Beal, Morris or Otto Porter -- all of whom have done so this season. It's about the best quality shot that goes to the taker's strength.

When the defender is 0-2 feet from Wall when he's taking a shot more than 10 feet away from the basket, his accuracy is 21.4 percent, according to the NBA's SVU data. In fact, when he's defended in this situation he only takes that shot 1.9 percent of the time, an indication that Wall knows this isn't his comfort zone.

[RELATED: Brooks confident in Beal despite shooting slump]

 

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Northwest Division...

Portland Trail Blazers, C+

2017-18 finish: 49-33, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Seth Curry, G Nik Stauskas, G Anfernee Simons, G Gary Trent, Jr.
Out: F Ed Davis, G Pat Connaughton, G Shabazz Napier

The Blazers are about as cash-strapped as anyone out there, so they had very little room to work with in free agency. They made some minor moves but nothing of real note. They had a solid draft, but picked Simons who is a long-term project. And they had to let some decent players go in free agency. The best thing that happened to the Blazers this summer was re-signing Jusuf Nurkic. Other than that, it was a pretty mediocre offseason for Portland.

Oklahoma City Thunder, A

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Dennis Schroeder, C Nerlens Noel, G Hamidou Diallo
Out: F Carmelo Anthony

GM Sam Presti deserves high praise for another strong offseason. Most of the acclaim comes from the Thunder re-signing Paul George despite the assumption of many he would leave in free agency. But OKC also snagged Noel on a cheap deal, adding more athleticism and depth behind center Steven Adams. And they got Schroeder back in the deal for Anthony when they could have shed his salary for nothing in return. They also added three second round picks, including Diallo who looked good in the Summer League. It's hard to imagine the Thunder doing better than they did, given the financial resources they were working with.

Utah Jazz, B

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 2nd round of playoffs
In: G Grayson Allen, F Tyler Cavanaugh
Out: F Jonas Jerebko

The Jazz get most of their points from re-signing players like Dante Exum, Raul Neto and Derrick Favors. Though the price tag for Favors is a little high, they did a nice job of bringing the band back together, knowing they have an opportunity to get better this season simply by having Rudy Gobert stay healthy. The Allen pick has potential to work out very well for them. He looked good in the Summer League and should complement Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio well at the guard position. All in all, there was nothing flashy for the Jazz but they made some solid, smart decisions.

Minnesota Timberwolves, C

2017-18 finish: 47-35, 1st round of playoffs
In: F Anthony Tolliver, G Josh Okogie, F Keita Bates-Diop
Out: F Nemanja Bjelica

The Wolves have enough salary committed to where they could only do so much this summer. Tolliver is a nice pickup and should add shooting to their frontcourt. Bates-Diop gives them nice value as a second round pick. It would have been nice to see the Wolves change something via trade, but they have reason to believe they can get better if Karl-Anthony Towns continues to ascend and Andrew Wiggins reclaims his form as a scorer.

Denver Nuggets, B+

2017-18 finish: 46-36, missed playoffs
In: G Isaiah Thomas, F Michael Porter, Jr. 
Out: F Wilson Chandler, G Devin Harris

The Nuggets had a solid offseason just as they get ready to make a big leap forward as a franchise. They re-signed Nikola Jokic to a long-term deal, added Thomas on a low-risk contract and took a chance on Porter in the draft. They lost Chandler in a salary dump, but have the tools to win 50-plus games next season. Thomas could be a big difference maker if healthy and Porter gives them another building block for the future. If he can get past his back injury, he will fit in nicely with their young core.

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NBA offseason grades: LeBron James leaving changes everything in Central Division

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NBA offseason grades: LeBron James leaving changes everything in Central Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Central Division...

Cleveland Cavaliers, C

2017-18 finish: 50-32, lost in NBA Finals
In: G Collin Sexton, F Channing Frye, F Sam Dekker
Out: F LeBron James, F Jeff Green, G Jose Calderon

Technically, the Cavaliers had the worst offseason of any team in the NBA simply because they lost James in free agency, but overall they did quite nicely for themselves as they prepare to enter a new era as a franchise. Sexton seems like a solid first round pick and gives them a nice young piece to build around. They also signed All-Star Kevin Love to a contract extension. Cleveland should have enough to remain competitive, at least for the back-end of the playoffs, but they need to clear some salary to justify the step back they are about to take.

Indiana Pacers, B+

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Tyreke Evans, G Aaron Holiday, F Doug McDermott, F Kyle O'Quinn
Out: G Lance Stephenson, F Glenn Robinson III, F Trevor Booker

There was nothing flashy about the Pacers' offseason, but they did a good job adding talent and depth. Evans on a one-year, $12 million deal is almost certain to work out well for them. McDermott should add shooting and O'Quinn is an underrated big man. And Holiday, their first round pick, is an intriguing young guard who could help on both ends of the floor. Indiana may not have enough to join the top teams in the conference, but they should be set up to recreate the success they had last year.

Milwaukee Bucks, B

2017-18 finish: 44-38, 1st round of playoffs
In: C Brook Lopez, F Ersan Ilyasova, G Pat Connaughton, G Donte DiVincenzo
Out: F Jabari Parker, G Jason Terry

The Bucks didn't have a whole lot to play with in terms of money in free agency or trade assets, and they let Parker go, so it wasn't a great summer for Milwaukee. They did, however make some smart moves in acquiring Lopez and Ilyasova for reasonable prices. The reason they got a 'B' has a lot to do with their decision to hire Mike Budenholzer as head coach. Beyond young guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo getting better, Budenholzer offers the Bucks their best chance to improve year-over-year.

Detroit Pistons, C+

2017-18 finish: 39-43, missed playoffs
In: G Kyhri Thomas, C Zaza Pachulia, F Glenn Robinson III, G Jose Calderon
Out: F Anthony Tolliver, F James Ennis III

It was another low-key offseason for the Pistons, who didn't have much money to spend in free agency and didn't make any major trades. Their biggest acquisition was through the draft with Thomas, a guy who offers intrigue on both ends of the floor. They get a decent grade, however, because of the move to hire Dwane Casey as head coach. If it weren't for that, their grade would be very low.

Chicago Bulls, B+

2017-18 finish: 27-55, missed playoffs
In: F Jabari Parker, F Wendell Carter, Jr., F Chandler Hutchison
Out: F Noah Vonleh

The Bulls had arguably one of the better offseasons in the East. They got Parker on a bargain and brought in two nice young players as first round picks in Carter and Hutchison. Carter was particularly impressive in the Summer League and could form a nice combination with Lauri Markkanen, who looks like a future All-Star. The Bulls might be one draft away from having the necessary pieces to start ascending into the next stage of their rebuild. They just keep chugging along with smart moves.

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MORE OFFSEASON GRADES

 

SOUTHEAST DIVISION: WIZARDS, HEAT, MAGIC, HORNETS, HAWKS

ATLANTIC DIVISION: SIXERS, CELTICS, RAPTORS, KNICKS, NETS

 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS