To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate John Wall's season...
Player: John Wall
Position: Point guard
2017-18 salary: $19.2 million
2017-18 stats: 41 G, 34.4 mpg, 19.4 ppg, 9.6 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.1 bpg, 42.0 FG%, 37.1 3P%, 72.6 FT%, 46.6 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 108 DRtg
Best game: 4/10 vs. Boston - 29 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 9-for-16 FG, 4-for-5 3PT
Season review: John Wall's 2017-18 season was defined by injuries, as he missed exactly half of the season and his absence helped define lasting narratives. Ironically, the entire saga came after his first healthy offseason in years.
Wall entered the season feeling better than ever. Then, he banged knees on a play against the Mavericks on Nov. 7 and wasn't the same for months. He then took two months to rehab from arthroscopic left knee surgery from late January to late March and returned just in time for the playoffs, appearing in just four more regular season games before the postseason began.
When Wall was available, he was characteristically very good. The Wizards went 23-18 with him in the mix and just 20-21 without him. Though they played well at times without Wall, they were markedly better with him on the court.
Wall, however, could not solve all of their problems and the Wizards' biggest season-long issue, losing to bad teams, persisted even when he was playing. Wall, like many of his teammates, offered theories for how to fix it. He even did what he could as a vocal leader to stop it, yet it kept happening. Wall was on the court for many of the Wizards' head-scratching losses including to the Suns, Hornets (twice), Mavericks (twice), Hawks and Nets.
From an individual perspective, Wall's numbers were affected by his health. His scoring average, assists average, steals average and shooting percentage dipped from the year before, as he was in and out of the lineup and often playing through pain. Though he played 41 games, a good portion of those were with an ailing left knee.
Still, there were a few areas Wall improved. He shot a career-high 37.1 percent from three on 4.1 attempts per game, he cut down his turnovers slightly and most notably, he raised his blocks per game average from 0.6 in 2016-17 to a career-best 1.1. He led the Wizards in blocks and was the first guard to average at least a block per game since Dwyane Wade in 2011-12. Wall and Wade are the only two guards who have accomplished the feat since Dennis Johnson in 1979-80.
There are a lot of what-ifs about the 2017-18 season and the biggest is what the Wizards could have done if Wall stayed healthy. Yes, he was playing at the end, but his absence in 41 games clearly altered the course of the Wizards' season.
Wall now begins the summer with a lot to think about. The main priority will be preparing his body for the 2018-19 season in hopes of better health. Though his injury was a freak occurrence, Wall has learned over the years how important the offseason is in terms of conditioning for the next year.
Potential to improve: Health, efficiency, on-ball defense
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