Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fantasy Basketball: Evaluating John Wall’s fit with the Clippers, where he ranks among point guards

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We reviewed the top unrestricted point guards set to hit the market on Monday and one new name has entered the conversation ahead of the league year’s start on July 1st. The Houston Rockets and John Wall agreed to a contract buyout on Monday, and the Los Angeles Clippers are the frontrunners to sign the 31-year-old for the 2022-23 season. What should fantasy managers expect from the former star? How will he affect the fantasy upside of other Clippers? We’ll delve into how he should be evaluated here.

John Wall’s 2022-23 fantasy outlook

2020-21 averages: 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals

Wall hasn’t played high-level basketball since he was shut down midway through the 2020-21 season but had no problem putting up strong numbers through 40 games with the Rockets after returning from an Achilles injury. His scoring and playmaking are still reliable tools, but his shooting efficiency is concerning. He shot just 40.4 percent from the floor and 31.7 percent from deep with Houston. Both are below league average in a league that values guards who can shoot the long ball. Los Angeles the kind of versatile wings that can capitalize on his playmaking, though. 

The Rockets ranked last in catch-and-shoot efficiency during Wall’s time with the team. Houston converted just 34.9 percent of its catch-and-shoot opportunities, which lowered Wall’s fantasy ceiling significantly. He ranked ninth in potential assists per game with 14.4, which put him on even footing with LeBron James. Wall won’t be without help on the perimeter alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Clippers have led the NBA in catch-and-shoot efficiency for the last two years despite the fact that they haven’t had a true point guard since Chris Paul’s departure. George, Luke Kennard, and Terrance Mann shot better than 40 percent from the field and deep of the catch last season. Los Angeles added other weapons in Robert Covington and Norman Powell in the back half of its 2021-22 campaign to bolster their firepower to become even more lethal.

Wall might not step into a major role immediately, as Reggie Jackson and Terrance Mann will slot into the backcourt rotation as ball handlers. Neither excels at setting the tables for others, though. Their limited playmaking chops and Leonard’s recovery from an ACL tear led to the Clippers attempting the third-most pull-up jumpers in the NBA last season. Wall can create easier looks for a group of talented scorers if he returns to his 2020-21 form. His scoring might be an afterthought with a pair of All-Stars alongside him, but I believe he can become a nightly double-double threat again. Every point guard who averaged at least 20.0 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds and played for more than half the season was an All-Star last year. I think Wall will be a great fit with the Clippers and can finish as a top-20 fantasy point guard if he remains healthy.

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