Isaac Bonga spent his offseason preparing with John Wall’s passing in mind

Bonga spent his offseason preparing with Wall’s passing in mind originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Isaac Bonga clearly thinks about the details in his offseason program, as in recent months he wasn’t just working on his three-point shot, he was tailoring his jumper for game situations alongside Wizards point guard John Wall.

Bonga got a sense of Wall’s playing style during practices last season when Wall joined the team following his Achilles rehab, and before the league shut down due to the coronavirus. And it was in those scrimmages that Bonga realized he needed to adjust to the speed and precision of Wall’s passing.

So, after departing the restart bubble, he started working specifically on his shooting in practice scenarios with Wall in mind, knowing he would have to be ready come this winter with Wall set to return from a nearly two-year absence.

«John is a really good point guard. He basically sees everything. You know that playing with him,» Bonga said. 

«So, it’s really about getting reps just like getting comfortable with the three-point line in game situations. Being in the corner and you know John is going to throw the pass to you. You have to be able to make those shots. It’s really about getting reps and trying to feel how the game will be.»

Bonga made 35.2 percent of his threes last season, a decent percentage, but on only 1.1 attempts per game. From the corner, he shot 44 percent, albeit on only 27 total attempts.

If you play as the three alongside Wall, you can generally expect open threes from the corner and also from the wing if you can keep up with him on the fastbreak. Being ready in those spots has helped many of Wall’s teammates over the years.

Bonga will be counted on mostly because of his defense, as he may be the team’s most disruptive wing. He has length and some versatility to defend guards and forwards.

But developing a three, particularly one that can complement Wall, would help solidify his role in the rotation. He happens to be in a training camp competition for the starting small forward position.

He says he’s not particularly worried about how it will shake out despite the fact he started 49 of the 66 games he played last season.

«Those are things I don’t really think about. I’m going to do whatever the coach asks of me,» he said.

If he has returned with an improved three-point shot, that competition may be his to lose.