The LA Clippers need to start John Wall to maximize their potential

John Wall. Terance Mann, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
John Wall. Terance Mann, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Reggie Jackson may be the better player right now, but for the LA Clippers to reach their full potential, John Wall should be the starting point guard. This is obviously not a knock on Jackson, who is coming off the best statistical season of his career. Not only did he average 16.8 points and 4.8 assists, but he also played a significant role in leading the LA Clippers to the eighth seed.

Furthermore, Jackson was the expected opening night starter until head coach Tyronn Lue’s recent comments. After countless impressive performances from Wall, the starting point guard for the LA Clippers has yet to be decided.

Lue couldn’t have said it any better. The stronger fit at the starting point guard will help the LA Clippers maximize their potential.

Jackson had a higher net rating and a better assist to turnover ratio than Wall in their last healthy seasons. In addition, Jackson has also been a more dangerous three point threat throughout his career, which may lead fans to believe that Jackson is currently the better player. Although Wall may have one of the best shooting seasons of his career this year, this is not the primary reason why he should start.

Wall deserves to start because he brings something the LA Clippers haven’t had since they came together three years ago: an elite play-making point guard who can run the break. Rondo was the closest player the LA Clippers can claim as a play-making point guard, but he was way past his prime during his time with the franchise.

Wall can add a whole new dimension to this team with his speed on the break and his play-making abilities. Even with a significantly less talented team in Houston, Wall was averaging nearly seven assists per game. His impact on the Clippers will be irreplaceable, especially considering the fact that he plays with some of the best two-way players in the NBA.

Now let’s take a closer look at how they played the last time we saw them and project forward based on those numbers, as well as overall career trends. The most effective way to compare these two is their most recent seasons at full health.

When comparing the LA Clippers’ two starting-caliber point guards side by side, it is clear why Wall should be named the starter.

Both John Wall and Reggie Jackson make a strong argument for the LA Clippers’ starting point guard position.  In Jackson’s case, his efficiency was far below what it usually is. He shot under 40% from the field and 32% from deep, a far cry from the career-high 43% he shot from three in 2020-21. With that being said, it is clear why he had a way higher usage rate and bigger role last season. This will not be much of a problem this year as Kawhi and Paul George will be back in the rotation.

Now, let’s look at what Wall, who was showing clear signs of decline in his last healthy season for the Houston Rockets. Statistically, he had a phenomenal year. Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists, while blocking 0.8 shots per game along with 1.1 steals per game.

When taking a look at his efficiency numbers, and specifically where he was getting his shots from, the signs of decline are easily noticeable. Not to mention, Wall posted the worst field goal percentage of his career as he attempted 18.2 shots while shooting 40.4%.

Wall also settled for three-pointers on 34% of his field goal attempts, the highest clip of his career. This means that he also shot the fewest percentage of two-pointers throughout his time in the NBA. Shying away from what made him elite in his prime could be a clear sign of a loss of athleticism. While there have been conversations on his shooting improvement, overall Wall shot 31.7% from deep in 2020-21, which is slightly below his career average.

Additionally, Wall also had the worst assist to turnover ratio of his career that season, averaging only 1.95 assists per turnover. Not only was he declining on the stat sheet, but when watching him play it was fairly visible.

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With Wall now playing on the most talented team he’s ever been on, there’s plenty of reasons to believe he can rediscover his most efficient shooting and play-making self. Despite his below-average efficiencies in 2020-21, Wall’s contributions will play a prominent role in competing for the top seed in the Western Conference.