Houston Rockets positive #3: John Wall
John Wall’s journey back to an NBA court took close to two years but he has made the wait well worth it. When the Houston Rockets traded Russell Westbrook for John Wall the initial analysis proclaimed the Washington Wizards as the trade’s winner.
After all, Westbrook was fresh off of an All-NBA selection and Wall hadn’t played since 2018-19 and was coming off an Achilles injury. However, after the first six games of the season, the Rockets are looking like the surefire winner of the trade.
Wall is averaging 23 points per game on a career-best effective field-goal percentage of 52.1-percent. On the other hand, Westbrook is averaging 20.5 points and is shooting a career-worst 39.5-percent from the field.
Part of what has fueled Wall’s improved efficiency is that his shot selection has improved dramatically. He’s taking 40.3-percent of his shots at the rim and has cut his share of mid-range jumpers to a career-low total of 18.1-percent.
Improvements like this tend to stick because they don’t require a player to actually improve their shooting. However, Wall is posting a career-best free-throw shooting percentage of 89.5-percent, which means this may be a case where Wall has improved his shot selection and as a shooter.
Winning this trade has been a huge positive for the Rockets as they also netted a first-round pick from it. While Wall outplaying Westbrook has been fantastic for the Rockets, it also gives the franchise an offensive focal point if and when James Harden is traded.
What should be exciting for Rockets fans is that Wall’s playmaking ability hasn’t been leaned into heavily yet because of Harden’s presence. He is only averaging 5.5 assists a game but if Harden departs that number should shoot up into the double digits.
Wall has a tall task playing up to his contract but he’s well on his way to making the Rockets look like the smart team for swapping him for Russell Westbrook. This is a positive the Rockets desperately needed this season because Wall is still owed $132 million over the next three seasons.
Next: Negative #3