clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Wizards’ defense is bad in all the wrong places

New, comments
Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Wizards’ defense is bad. You know this. I know this. It’s hard to find new ways to talk about how bad the defense has been this season, but I’m going to try to give it one last shot to drive home just how much of a problem it has been this season.

The goal of every defense is to keep teams from scoring, and the best way to keep them from scoring is to limit their effectiveness at the most efficient areas on the floor: In the paint, at the free throw line, and behind the arc. Every team has different ways to keep opponents from scoring in those areas, but if you can’t defend those areas, you’re not going to go very far defensively.

So how do the Wizards stack up in those spots? Not well at all.

Points given up at worst spots per 100 possessions

TEAM PAINT FREE THROWS THREE POINTERS TOTAL
TEAM PAINT FREE THROWS THREE POINTERS TOTAL
Cleveland Cavaliers 51.5 16.5 36 104
Phoenix Suns 52 20.4 31.5 103.9
New York Knicks 50.8 18.1 34.5 103.4
Washington Wizards 49.8 17.8 35.1 102.7
Minnesota Timberwolves 47.5 17.1 37.5 102.1
Houston Rockets 52.3 18.8 30.9 102
Atlanta Hawks 46.2 20.1 35.4 101.7
Chicago Bulls 48.6 16.9 36 101.5
New Orleans Pelicans 49.5 17.4 34.5 101.4
Sacramento Kings 49.2 18.4 33.3 100.9
Charlotte Hornets 48.8 16.3 35.4 100.5
Los Angeles Lakers 48.4 17.1 33.9 99.4
Golden State Warriors 46.2 18.5 34.5 99.2
Denver Nuggets 48.6 17.2 33.3 99.1
LA Clippers 49.3 19.9 29.7 98.9
Memphis Grizzlies 42.9 20 35.1 98
Detroit Pistons 50.1 18.3 29.4 97.8
Dallas Mavericks 47.5 16.7 33.6 97.8
San Antonio Spurs 46.8 15.2 35.4 97.4
Brooklyn Nets 49.7 17.2 30 96.9
Philadelphia 76ers 48.9 18.4 29.4 96.7
Boston Celtics 45.3 17.1 34.2 96.6
Portland Trail Blazers 46.9 17.4 31.8 96.1
Miami Heat 42.6 17.8 35.4 95.8
Oklahoma City Thunder 47.1 17.8 30.9 95.8
Indiana Pacers 45.2 16 34.5 95.7
Orlando Magic 47.4 16.6 31.5 95.5
Toronto Raptors 46.6 17.2 30.9 94.7
Utah Jazz 46.7 16.6 29.4 92.7
Milwaukee Bucks 40.9 14.8 36.3 92

The Wizards aren’t the worst in any of the three categories—they aren’t even bottom-five in any of those spots—but they’re below-average in all three areas. The mix of all three puts them near the bottom of the league. Only the Cavaliers, Knicks, and Suns—the three worst teams in the league—give up more combined points per 100 possessions from those spots.

No matter how you want to spread out the blame, the point is the Wizards’ defense isn’t just bad, it’s structurally unsound. There isn’t one area where the team excels other than some vanity hustle metrics that only tell a small sliver of the story. Washington needs to re-think how to put together an effective defense at every level if they have any chance of getting better next season.