Since John Wall came back from a knee injury 22 games ago, the Wizards have been a brand new team. Thanks to the young backcourt of Wall and rookie Brad Beal, a lost season now offers a glimmer of hope for the future in the nation’s capital. The Wizards are 9-6 when Wall starts, including a 106-96 win over the Knicks on February 6th. Over that span, with Wall on the court, the Wizards are averaging 101.2 points per 100 possessions, and just 97.0 when he sits. That’s roughly the difference between league average and bottom feeder, where the Wizards sit for the season.
Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert will need to try and contain Wall and keep him out of the paint. He’s one of the fastest players in the league with the ball in his hands, and his playmaking can create problems for the Knicks. Before they even try to stay in front of Wall, the Knicks will need to get back on defense, and prevent him from going end-to-end generating fast-break baskets. At this point in his career, John Wall still struggles to consistently hit jump shots, so look for the Knicks to go under ball screens. If they can slow down Wall in transition, and force him away from the basket, the Knicks should return home for their showdown against the Heat coming off a win.
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