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Key Numbers and Questions from the Wizards Loss to the Bulls

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal played well against the Bulls, but with a sore knee and pain in his shooting shoulder, why was he on the floor at all?
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t understand Scott Brooks and the Wizards. The team’s offseason strategy was clear: clear away some dead-weight salary, make multiple low-cost bets on young players, invest time and energy in developing those youngsters into actual contributors, and lose enough to get a high pick in the 2020 draft.

Yet, in a meaningless January game against a similarly-situated team — right down to the plague of injuries — Bradley Beal played 27 minutes despite a sore knee that required him to use a stationary bike to stay warm when he went to the bench, and brand new pain in his shooting shoulder.

And the team was led in minutes by 33-year old Ian Mahinmi, who might get a minimum salary contract somewhere else in the NBA next season, but is just as likely to be playing overseas.

Yes, there are guys on minutes restrictions. That doesn’t mean Brooks needed to play a dinged up Beal or an old guy like Mahinmi. Those minutes could have been more productively given to players who might have a future like Gary Payton, Isaac Bonga, Troy Brown and Anzejs Pasecniks.

All but Brown played well. All received 18 minutes or fewer.

All that said, Beal played well, scoring 23 points in 27 minutes on just 13 shots. That’s an efficient, effective performance — maybe he should play in pain more often.

Overall, this game played out in familiar fashion for the Wizards. Their offense was decent despite elevated turnovers, but their defense was atrocious. Again. The Bulls entered the game with the league’s 27th ranked offense — averaging just 105.3 points per 100 possessions. They posted an offensive rating of 119 on the Wizards.

Check out the recap, here.

Four Factors

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. The most important factor is shooting from the floor, and the Bulls dominated in that area. It’s the 17th time this season the Wizards defense has allowed an opponent to shoot .580 or better.

Wizards-Bulls Four Factors

efg 0.538 0.588
orb 0.18 0.21
tov 0.17 0.16
ftm 0.27 0.18
ortg 110 119
pace 97

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

Beal 27 223 30
Payton 18 237 21
Pasecniks 18 180 16
Bonga 18 166 15
McRae 25 79 10
Thomas 25 55 7
Bryant 12 112 7
Smith 23 45 5
Mahinmi 30 12 2
Brown 17 -33 0
Bertans 26 -39 0

Bulls PPA and SIR

LaVine 33 246 32
Satoransky 28 240 26
Young 21 307 25
Huchison 12 287 14
Markkanen 31 98 12
Dunn 30 63 7
Kornet 35 51 7
Gafford 1 1527 6
Harrison 2 -104 0
White 23 -24 0
Felicios 7 -145 0
Arcidiacono 17 -113 0