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The numbers behind the Knicks thrashing of the Wizards

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
Wizards center Montrezl Harrell.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

What should we take from preseason exhibition games? If you answer anything other than “very little” or “almost nothing,” you’re wrong.

This would be the case, even if the Wizards played well, which they decidedly did not. They got spanked by the New York Knicks, 117-99, and the game wasn’t that close. But remember, it’s preseason and there’s little to take from any single game.

That said, while there’s little that’s actually meaningful, there are indicators and signs that warrant observation. Like, for a second straight preseason game, the Wizards’ defense was subpar. They allowed the Knicks a 59.5% effective field goal percentage, and their overall defensive rating (111) was buoyed by New York’s inability to control the basketball (18 turnovers). It would be challenging to assert that the Wizards forced 18 Knicks turnovers.

The Wizards efg was just 41.0% (abysmal), and they committed 10 turnovers of their own. Ugh.

According to my PPA metric, Montrezl Harrell was good, and Bradley Beal, Spencer Dinwiddie, Daniel Gafford, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Raul Neto were decent. The rest? Meh and worse.

Four Factors

Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made).

I’ve simplified them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category are easier to understand.

PACE is possessions per 48 minutes.

Wizards 99 at Knicks 117

FOUR FACTORS KNICKS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS KNICKS WIZARDS
EFG 0.595 0.410
OREB 5 6
TOV 18 10
FTM 17 26
PACE 105
ORTG 111 94

Player Production Average

Player Production Average (PPA) is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls). PPA is a per possession stat that includes accounting for defense and role. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

The table below is sorted by each player’s total contributions for the game.

POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.

PTS = points scored

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average last season was 112.3.

USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.

ORTG and USG are slightly modified versions of stats created by now-Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.

Wizards PPA

WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Montrezl Harrell 22 48 18 127 31.9% 216 -3
Bradley Beal 25 56 14 92 27.8% 116 -11
Spencer Dinwiddie 22 48 13 114 23.9% 115 -2
Daniel Gafford 22 48 7 99 11.9% 113 -15
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 20 43 4 81 13.4% 112 -17
Raul Neto 16 34 10 126 21.7% 120 -21
Jordan Schakel 3 7 5 224 32.2% 489 3
Anthony Gill 6 12 2 193 6.4% 146 7
Isaiah Todd 8 16 2 0 11.4% 110 4
Davis Bertans 16 35 8 0 22.9% 21 -14
Deni Avdija 16 36 4 82 12.7% 11 -2
Jay Huff 3 6 0 #DIV/0! 0.0% 53 -1
Jordan Goodwin 5 11 4 97 30.2% -34 -2
Jaime Echenique 4 9 0 34 20.4% -67 0
Kyle Kuzma 24 54 4 48 14.5% -47 -8
Corey Kispert 13 30 2 32 16.3% -109 -6
Aaron Holiday 15 33 2 39 22.1% -113 -2

Knicks PPA

KNICKS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
KNICKS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Derrick Rose 19 42 15 138 30.4% 469 20
Kevin Knox II 20 44 12 147 14.8% 261 8
Jericho Sims 26 58 7 118 11.4% 173 15
Obi Toppin 28 62 13 96 18.9% 112 10
Quentin Grimes 2 4 6 287 40.1% 1763 6
Evan Fournier 25 55 14 117 20.7% 94 2
Taj Gibson 22 47 8 108 11.5% 68 3
RJ Barrett 31 69 18 92 26.8% 28 2
Immanuel Quickley 20 44 11 107 21.4% 40 13
Kemba Walker 21 46 6 80 18.7% 10 6
Miles McBride 3 6 0 232 4.5% 0 1
Alec Burks 23 51 7 65 20.1% -33 4

On the bright side, it’s unlikely the Wizards will get torched by Kevin Knox again. On the pessimistic side, they got lit up by Kevin Knox!

Anyway, it’s preseason. It doesn’t mean much of anything. At least that’s what the Wizards have to be hoping.