The NBA is all about the Pick & Roll, right? John Wall, even in limited games thus far, is getting a crash course in the adjustments he needs to make in execution on both ends of the floor. The transition from college to pro involves more games, more minutes and more plays per game, and a majority of those plays involve … you guessed it, the Pick & Roll. So, if Wall is going to get better running the P&R on offense, and better at defending the plethora of young point guards in the League trying to do the same thing, he has plenty of opportunity.
After Friday’s game against the Knicks, I asked Flip Saunders to speak on Wall’s P&R execution and progression. Saunders said:
“Some of those plays are designed as a decoy to get other players open. I think what’s happening is John — we watch film, we have to watch more — he’s got to make the adjustment of understanding when players are going under those screens a lot, that’s when he can be more aggressive to the paint, and a lot of times, he’s kind of walking off those screens. When you slide off those screens, the defense doesn’t have to commit.”
On if Wall was lacking aggressiveness against the Knicks, Saunders said:
“It’s a combination, he’s an instinctive player a lot of times and he’s very emotional. So when he gets a big play or things get going, he gets juiced up and his motor gets going. And as I said, when he’s missing some shots, his motor wasn’t going.
“He’s a young player. He’s 20-years old. Our league is designed … New York probably ran 75 pick and rolls tonight, at least, there’s a lot of pick and rolls in our game. In colleges you don’t run pick and roll. Raymond Felton is a prime example. You look at his development over the last few years, from when he came out of college to now, he’s become a very good pick and roll player. That’s why they’ve won 13 of 14 or 14 of 15, because it’s as much how he’s playing.
“That’s the toughest thing about rebuilding with players, every night is a learning process, and just because you learn one night doesn’t guarantee the they’re going to remember it the next night, or two nights later.”