Washington Wizards keeping track of their hustle plays on defense

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards rank as one of the NBA's best defensive teams. Could locker-room bragging rights be playing a role?

Some of you might recall reading a year ago about the the theory behind the "Charge Board" in the Washington Wizards locker room, promoting team defense by encouraging "the most selfless play in basketball," John Converse Townsend of Truth About It wrote at the time.

Now, the Wizards have had some version of the board since at least the 2009-10 season. For instance, Flip Saunders once tracked the team's defensive field goal percentage before changing it to the "Charge Board." Under Randy Wittman, the team has added two new categories: deflections and the percentage of shots contested. While we've made passing reference to the new-and-improved board in some of our game recaps this season, there hasn't been anything substantive written about the changes...until now, that is.

Townsend has revisited the board in a TAI post, and noted how the Wizards have only given themselves further incentive to play selfless, team-defense by keeping track of two new hustle plays.

In terms of deflections, OkaRiza is leading the way -- Emeka Okafor is tops on the team with 197 deflections, while Trevor Ariza comes in at a distant second with 134 (though I'm pretty sure Ariza would have Okafor beat if the stat were deflections-per-minute). As far as which Wizards contest the most shots, Jan Vesely leads the team at 87 percent, followed by Garrett Temple at 85 percent and Bradley Beal at 83 percent. Unsurprisingly, Jordan Crawford ranks last on the team at 64 percent. Disappointingly, John Wall is second-worst at 69 percent.

Cartier Martin told Townsend that the updated board "definitely is a motivational tool."

"It's kind of a competitive thing for us," Cartier Martin told me after the game. "We look at it, try to see what guys are taking the most charges, who has the most deflections. It's something we try to get better at every game. We're shooting to see who comes up with the most charges, deflections and all that at the end of the year."

While it sounds like the Wizards are definitely paying attention to where they rank on the Charge Board, Martin said it hasn't really been the source of any trash talk...yet.

"Not really trash talk, it's just more of a ‘we know what we need to do.' We take a look at it and make sure that we stay on top of our game."

What do you guys think? If you were Wittman, would you add any new categories to the Charge Board? Let us know in the comments.

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