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Wizards Lose to Magic — Inside the Numbers

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Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

One game removed from a resounding win over the Miami Heat, the Wizards were out of tricks, and they were blown out by the Orlando Magic, 122-101. Here’s a summary of the key stats that decided the game.

Four Factors

Current Wizards assistant Dean Oliver formalized the four factors that decide winning and losing (offense and defense). The factors:

  • Shooting from the field — measured by effective field goal percentage, which accounts for the effect of the three-point shot
  • Ball handling — measured by turnover percentage
  • Rebounding — measured by offensive rebounding percentage
  • Fouling — measured by free throws made divided by field goal attempts

Wizards-Magic Four Factors

STAT WIZARDS MAGIC
STAT WIZARDS MAGIC
efg 0.431 0.537
orb 18% 23%
tov 13% 9%
ftm 0.3 0.21
ortg 100 121
pace 101

The most important factor in the NBA — by far — is shooting from the field. The team with the higher eFG wins about 78% of the time. The Wizards were outshot by a wide margin and also committed more turnovers and got out-rebounded.

Overall, this was a typically poor defensive performance from Washington, which they paired with one of their worst offensive outputs of the season. That’s a recipe for a blowout. What kept the score from getting too far out of hand was their ability to get to the free throw line.

Player Production Average and Scoreboard Impact Rating

Below are results from metrics I developed — Player Production Average (PPA) and Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR). PPA is a per possession production metric that’s pace neutral and accounts for defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

SIR translates total production for each player into points on the scoreboard in this game.

Wizards-Magic PPA and SIR

WIZARDS MIN PPA SIR
WIZARDS MIN PPA SIR
Beal 30 110 22
Williams 12 211 17
Smith 28 76 14
Brown 28 69 13
Bonga 13 134 12
Mathews 17 101 12
McRae 31 52 11
Robinson 4 -51 0
Schofield 4 -131 0
Pasecniks 24 -23 0
Mahinmi 20 -43 0
Thomas 19 -75 0
Payton 10 -145 0

Magic-Wizards PPA and SIR

MAGIC MIN PPA SIR
MAGIC MIN PPA SIR
Augustin 31 295 28
Birch 26 257 21
Fultz 22 287 20
Ross 24 190 14
Vucevic 31 127 12
Iwundu 22 118 8
Jefferson 13 177 7
Bamba 15 142 7
Isaac 2 771 5
Fournier 38 -4 0
Magette 2 -297 0
Frazier 13 -121 0

In his return to action after missing a couple games with leg soreness, Bradley Beal led the Wizards in total production despite a relatively pedestrian performance by his standards. He was impressive early, but his agility — and production — seemed to suffer after taking a fall in the third quarter.

Beal’s gimpiness raises questions about the long-term strategic value of playing him so many minutes. He entered the Orlando game averaging 36.6 minutes per game — fifth most in the NBA. If the Wizards were playing for anything meaningful, that would be fine. But, they’re at the bottom of the standings, by design, and the focus should be on player development.

There’s nothing to be gained from having Beal grind out meaningless minutes — especially when the Wizards reserves don’t appear unusually dependent on him at either end of the floor. Beal is a talented and valuable player and this season offers the franchise a unique opportunity to experiment with how to use him best while preserving his body for the future.