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Inside the numbers of the Wizards’ season-opening victory against the Toronto Raptors

Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors
Wizards center Montrezl Harrell dunks against the Raptors.
Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

At the risk of sounding like the grumpier version of Statler and Waldorf, the Wizards didn’t impress me much in their 98-83 opening-night win over the Toronto Raptors. That’s not to say I didn’t see anything good — I did.

It’s just that even when they were flirting with a 30-point lead in the third quarter, I had the nagging feeling that the big lead was more about the Raptors missing everything from everywhere than it was the Wizards playing outstanding basketball.

What did I like?

  • Montrezl Harrell and Daniel Gafford did some work inside. Now, the Raptors aren’t blessed with talented bigs, but still — the Wizards’ center duo combined for 30 points on 14 shots, as well as 14 rebounds, 2 steals and 6 blocks (Gafford had both steals and 5 of the blocks).
  • It was good to see Washington perimeter defenders attempting to fight over screens and trying to execute force rules.
  • Deni Avdija played a controlled game, made his shots, and used his left hand to get into the middle and draw a foul.
  • Raul Neto was disruptive defensively.
  • Active defenders in passing lanes — the team had 14 steals, led by 4 each from Beal and Neto.

What didn’t I like?

  • Turnovers! Kyle Kuzma and Beal had 5 each. Spencer Dinwiddie, Raul Neto and Aaron Holiday had 3 apiece. That’s 14 turnovers from the guys who are supposed to be their best ball handlers. For the game, the Wizards had 22 turnovers to 20 assists.
  • Defensive rebounding. The Raptors grabbed 30% of their missed shots. Last season, the NBA’s best offensive rebounding team got 26.3% of their misses.
  • Too many open looks. Toronto was just 7-34 from deep for the game, and many of those misses were open or wide-open. That’s something for Wes Unseld Jr. and the coaching staff to clean up in the video session tomorrow.

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 98 at Raptors 83

FOUR FACTORS RAPTORS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS RAPTORS WIZARDS
EFG 0.345 0.481
OREB 19 7
TOV 19 22
FTM 16 21
PACE 105
ORTG 79 93

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 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 26 57 22 166 21.8% 370 4
Deni Avdija 21 46 8 164 11.1% 409 13
Daniel Gafford 22 48 8 146 10.4% 292 11
Bradley Beal 34 74 23 94 32.1% 123 24
Raul Neto 23 50 8 75 19.7% 135 14
Spencer Dinwiddie 26 57 13 105 26.3% 73 1
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 27 59 5 66 11.3% 10 2
Kyle Kuzma 35 76 11 63 22.5% 0 22
Davis Bertans 13 29 0 44 9.7% -192 -7
Aaron Holiday 13 28 0 0 22.3% -453 -9

Raptors PPA

RAPTORS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
RAPTORS MIN POSS PTS ORTG USG PPA +/-
Dalano Banton 12 27 7 184 11.2% 325 8
Goran Dragic 22 47 9 139 14.1% 154 -16
Khem Birch 26 57 9 131 15.2% 121 -8
Precious Achiuwa 19 40 6 84 21.2% 18 -6
Gary Trent Jr. 26 58 6 60 16.5% -7 3
Chris Boucher 18 38 7 68 21.4% -11 -1
OG Anunoby 34 74 11 66 23.7% -12 -21
Fred VanVleet 35 76 12 64 24.4% -47 -22
Svi Mykhailiuk 16 35 4 64 14.9% -175 -1
Scottie Barnes 33 71 12 67 23.9% -101 -11

Yes, Kuzma’s PPA was zero despite 15 rebounds. Why? He shot just 4-13 from the floor and he committed 5 turnovers and 2 fouls. In a game where the Wizards offensive rating (points per possession x 100) was a meager 93, Kuzma’s ortg was 63 on a usage rate of 22.5%. The rebounds just weren’t enough to offset the inefficiency.