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Wizards lose to Suns — a look inside the numbers

Phoenix Suns v Washington Wizards
The Wizards Jerome Robinson scored 20 points on 9 field goal attempts in Washington’s 125-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

Get used to it. What happened to the Wizards against the Suns is likely to keep happening over their final seven games in The Bubble.

Remember, the Wizards would have been the weakest team in Orlando with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, and they’re both out. The group they have will probably steal a win or two over the last seven, although they’re decided underdogs in each contest.

The team’s defense was so bad, they may as well have put Isaiah Thomas back in the lineup. The Suns shot a scorching 59.4% efg and got to the free throw line 32 times because the Wizards couldn’t defend without fouling.

Wizards vs. Suns Four Factors

efg 0.505 0.594
orb 0.20 0.13
tov 0.17 0.16
ftm 0.23 0.38
ortg 107 119
pace 105

The Wizards grabbing 87% of Phoenix’s misses might have been good if they had actually been able to make the Suns miss shots.

Washington’s offense wasn’t good but probably looked worse than it was. Their shooting was subpar and turnovers a bit elevated.

PGs Shabazz Napier and Ish Smith were both guilty of over-dribbling, and in a weird way for a fast-paced game — the Wizards were consistently slow to initiate their offensive action. Despite the two veteran PGs, the Wizards were befuddled by Phoenix’s press.

The Bubble, of course, isn’t really about wins and losses for the Wizards. What fans (and the team) should be hoping for are signs of player development. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much on display in the loss.

Washington’s young players were mostly bad. The one exception, Jerome Robinson, shot well but did next to nothing else out there — just one rebound, one assist, and one steal in 32 minutes. That’s reflected in his PPA (see table below), which was just 157, a low score for someone scoring 20 points on nine field goal attempts.

In PPA, my production metric, 100 is average and higher is better.

Troy Brown and Rui Hachimura were not so good. Thomas Bryant was basically replacement level overall — and worse than that on defense. Isaac Bonga was awful.

The Wizards need Bryant to start showing better defensive awareness and technique, but the Suns lit him up every way possible and he got dominated by Deandre Ayton — 24 points and 12 rebounds on 11-14 shooting. As poorly as Bryant played, backup Moritz Wagner was worse.

Below are PPA scores for the Wizards and Suns, sorted by total production for each team.

Wizards PPA

Robinson 32 157
Brown 27 88
Hachimura 30 71
Grant 10 195
Bryant 34 48
Smith 27 22
Bonga 22 13
Williams 13 21
Schofield 6 -246
Napier 27 -55
Wagner 14 -136

Suns PPA

Ayton 35 301
Rubio 29 172
Payne 19 199
Saric 27 126
Johnson 25 101
Bridges 34 73
Carter 25 77
Booker 36 2
Kaminsky 11 -141

As a group, the Wizards rated about replacement level — a fitting mark for what some have called a G-League roster.

Up next for the Wizards are the Brooklyn Nets, whose roster may be in worse shape than Washington’s. This is probably their best chance to get a win, though I still have Washington as solid underdogs. Their last six games are against teams with positive scoring differentials in The Before Times season.