We always hear about the effect that the "great" point guards have on the players around them. Elite leaders aren't just elite on their own, but they make everyone else around them play at a higher-than-usual level as well.
The main example of this is Chris Paul. Paul averages only about 16 points and less than 10 assists but players go to his teams (be it the Clippers or the Hornets) and immediately become better. Matt Barnes becomes a consistent, knock-down shooter. Jamal Crawford's three-point percentage jumps to over 37 percent. So much of this is attributed to Chris Paul purely because of the Chris Paul Effect. He gets guys open looks and he makes them better.
That point guard effect is also a reason for criticism in plenty of scenarios. We critique Russell Westbrook because he doesn't have it. We lamented Allen Iverson for years because of his inefficiency and inability to make the players around him better. Somehow, John Wall has been placed in that class. But is that fair for the third-year point guard, who started his season fresh off a major injury?
Actually, the John Wall Effect does exist and it's becoming more and more apparent with each Wizards' win and with each Bradley Beal swish.
Over his first 31 games of the season, Beal struggled often. His numbers left much to be desired, shooting 36.7 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from three. He was averaging 13.1 points per game, but that was on 12.6 field goal attempts per game - highly inefficient. Beal, who played small forward at Florida in college, looked like he wasn't adjusting well to a shooting guard position that should have been more natural to him in the NBA.
Then Wall came back and everything changed.
Since the return of his starting point guard on Jan. 12, Beal has taken off. In 20 games, his volume is essentially the same. He's taking 0.2 fewer field goals per game and 0.2 fewer three-point attempts per game (negligible amounts), but his percentages are ridiculous - completely ridiculous.
He is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from three while averaging 15.9 points per game. Remember, this isn't a small sample size. This is 20 games of volume shooting from Bradley Beal and all of those 20 games are with Wall.
When Wall did return, he was on a relatively strict minutes limit that didn't see him pass the 30-minute mark for any given game. That made sense. If you're the Wizards, why push your potential franchise player to further injury in a season in which you have no chance at making the playoffs.
With that minutes limit, Wall, of course, couldn't impact the game as much as he is now that he's back to getting regular burn. Let's say that Wall-playing-time policy ended on Feb. 2 against the Spurs, the first game in which Wall played more than 32 minutes. More minutes means a greater effect on the game. It also means the John Wall Effect had even more time to help out Beal.
And it has helped him significantly.
In 10 games since Feb. 2, Beal's shooting percentages are just as remarkable as they were in Wall's first ten games back (48.2 percent from the field, 46.5 percent from three), but his volume is even higher. He is averaging 18.3 points per game and is sinking 2.0 threes per game in the process. He's bringing serious value for fantasy owners who need shooters and plenty of that has to do with Wall.
This doesn't even mention the Wizards' 14-11 record since Wall's return, pretty remarkable considering they are 5-28 without him. The Wizards are benefiting from Wall. Beal is surely one of those beneficiaries and fantasy owners have to start to take note.