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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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LeBron James reportedly puts together star-studded cast of players for Space Jam 2

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LeBron James reportedly puts together star-studded cast of players for Space Jam 2

LeBron James has begun assembling his team to take on the Monstars in Space Jam 2, and as you'd expect, the roster is full of star power.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson are expected to have key roles, along with WNBA players Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike. Several other NBA and WNBA players, including Nneka's sister Chiney Ogwumike, are expected to appear in the movie.

Fittingly, Davis will be teaming up with James in real life too, after the Lakers acquired the All-Star big man from the Pelicans. 

Space Jam 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on July 16, 2021. The movie will be produced by Black Panther and Creed director Ryan Coogler, while Terence Nance will direct. 

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Memphis Grizzlies have traded veteran point guard Mike Conley, who has played the most games in franchise history, to the Utah Jazz.

The person says the Grizzlies swapped Conley for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and Grayson Allen. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because neither Memphis nor Utah has announced the trade.

ESPN.com first reported the deal, which it says also includes Utah's No. 23 pick overall in Thursday night's draft. 

Conley was the final piece of the core that led the Grizzlies to seven consecutive playoff berths, including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left in 2017 as free agents, and Memphis traded Marc Gasol to Toronto in February, splitting up a duo that had been the NBA's longest-tenured teammates. Gasol went on to help the Raptors win their first NBA title.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has since confirmed that Memphis will also be receiving a 2020 protected first-round pick, which will either convey as a late-lottery pick in 2020 and 2021 or become a lightly-protected pick from 2022-2024. 

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