A game after the return of Davis Bertans, the Wizards got back Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant. It wasn’t enough, however, and they lost in their now typical “excellent offense/terrible defense” fashion. Check out the recap, here.
At some point, the Wizards will need to figure out how to play defense. In the meantime, fans were entertained by Ian Mahinmi hitting another three en route to 15 points, 6 rebounds, and a career-high 7 assists in 31 minutes of action. He’s likely to be back on the bench as Bryant regains pre-injury form and Moe Wagner recovers from an ankle injury, but his somewhat decent overall performance this season at least increases the plausibility that another team might be willing to take him in a trade package.
Bertans shot 4-of-7 from three-point range in a hyper-efficient 18 points in 26 minutes. Tommy Sheppard and the team’s front office has about three weeks to decide their future course with him. Signs point to them planning to re-sign him during the offseason, but the decision has layers of complexity that need to be thought through. I’ll have more on that later in the week.
Against the Jazz, the Wizards also got solid performances from Isaac Bonga, Jordan McRae and Thomas Bryant. Bonga continues to make progress developing himself into a potential rotation player. He has a long ways to go, but he’s driving more, demonstrating improved ball handling, and showing more “wiggle” when attacking the hoop.
McRae’s hot start to the season made him a prime candidate for a difficult regression to the mean. That’s begun to happen — his offensive efficiency has dropped 10 points per 100 possessions over the past week. He’s still on pace for the best season of his career, but the Wizards would be wise to tap the brakes on any plans they may have to make him part of the rotation going forward. Their best move will likely be to sell high on McRae — if there’s a buyer.
Bryant looked weirdly like himself in his first action since sitting with a stress reaction in his foot. He made his shots around the basket, and mostly missed away from it. The team was catastrophically bad defensively when he was on the floor, though it remains difficult to heap all responsibility for that on Bryant’s shoulders.
It was great to see Beal back on the floor, though it was a poor performance for the Wizards only All-Star candidate. He scored 25 points, but it took him 25 shots to get there. In a game characterized by ineffective defense on both ends of the floor, his high-usage inefficiency was costly.
The Jazz were led by Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert, but nearly everyone in a Utah uniform was at least decent. This makes sense given they were facing one of the worst defensive teams in league history having among its worst defensive performances of the season.
The Wizards defense was so bad, they managed to make Emmanuel Mudiay look competent.
Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver formalized the four factors (offensive and defensive) that determine who wins and loses in the NBA. Get more details here.
Washington “lost” in three of the four key areas — the Jazz shot better, rebounded better, and made more free throws. The Wizards “won” the turnover battle by two.
Four Factors: Wizards vs. Jazz
Player Production Average and Scoreboard Impact Rating
In the table below are results from Player Production Average (PPA) and Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR), which are player rating metrics I developed. PPA is an overall production metric that’s pace neutral and accounts for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.
SIR translates overall production into points on the scoreboard in this game.
Wizards PPA and SIR
Jazz PPA and SIR