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The Wizards are on the wrong side of the chasm

NBA: Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at stats about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add some context, and discuss how they affect the product on the court.

Today’s stat is the Wizards’ Net Rating this season, which is...


We’re now over one-third of the way through the season. At this point in the NBA calendar, most of the fluky early season trends have evened out. Team records may not paint the clearest picture of where each team stands, but things like point differential and net rating tend to be fairly illustrative at this point of the season.

For instance, last season no team with a net rating under -2 on this day in 2017 went on to make the playoffs. Even teams like the 76ers and Jazz, who both had losing records at the time, had respectable net ratings that foreshadowed the potential to make a run once their schedules got more favorable.

Currently, there are 23 teams with a net rating above -2. The seven teams that aren’t in that group all have a net rating below -4.5 on the season. When you plot out each team’s net rating out on a chart, it’s pretty easy to see where the gap is between the playoff contenders and everyone else. You may notice the Wizards (the red dot on the chart) are not on the right side of this chasm that is emerging.

The Wizards are joined on that side of the gap by the Bulls, Cavaliers, Suns, Hawks, Knicks, and Magic. Everyone else in that group other than Orlando is already well out of the playoff hunt, and even they’re falling back to earth after their strong start. They’ve lost seven of their last ten including five by double-digits. Then again, the Wizards have lost eight of their last ten, so you can make the argument they’re falling back to earth as well.

Even if you adjust for the Wizards’ road-heavy schedule, they’re still on the wrong side of Basketball-Reference’s adjusted net ratings.

There’s still time for Washington to claw their way back into things if Porter can get healthy and things click with Trevor Ariza, but they’re running out of time to turn it around. The train is leaving the station.