Ok, so I'm excited about the debut of John Wall and the recent performance (and potential) of Bradley Beal. And Nene's been flat-out great this year, when he's been on the court. So I don't mean to dampen a rare wave (wavelet?) of good feeling in an otherwise dismal season. But....
...I just came across these stats at 82games.com. They simply show the difference in Hollinger's PER stat for each position on the Wizards vs. each corresponding position for opponents when they've played the Wizards this year. As you might guess, it's not a pretty picture. Here are the stats:
PG -2.0; SG -0.7; SF -2.4; PF -6.7; C -2.1
So for PG, opponents' PER against the Wizards has been 2.0 points better than the Wizards' PGs' PER, and so on. You will note, of course, that we face a disadvantage at every position.
Hopefully this will change with Wall's return, but I think it's worth noting that, at least by this measure, PG has been among the least of our problems. (Maybe Wall will improve the PER of teammates too, of course.)
Here's what stands out most to me:
- Crawford and Beal have done a decent job between them, and SG is the one position that looks quite solid to me; there's real growth potential here, and no chronic injury worries. Note, however, that we're still losing out in head-to-head battles even here.
- Say all you want about Nene, but we're nonetheless being outplayed at center, despite $27 million in salary devoted to our top 2 centers, and another center (Seraphin) who is supposed to be a building block for the future.
- PF and SF are complete and utter disasters, despite enormous investments in both draft picks and free agents. And "injuries" don't cut it here. It's just stunning how much of the roster is made up of terrible forwards who we either drafted as first rounders or paid a lot of money.
PER differential is just one measure, of course, but it doesn't strike me as a bad one. What it shows is the complete bankruptcy of the front office. John Wall will not fix this. Beal's improvement will not fix this. Our front court in particular is an epic disaster mitigated only somewhat by Nene, who is 30 and can't stay on the court.
Maybe Wall will lift the team up a bit. Maybe between him and Beal and Nene's inspired hobbling, we'll play somewhere near .500 for the rest of the season (though I doubt we'll hit that mark). But that should not obscure the central fact about this franchise: Ernie Grunfeld has left us a complete and utter mess, with very little to build on.
So yes, this is all just a long-winded way of saying, again: FIRE ERNIE.