What should fans take from last night’s preseason game between the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets? Basically nothing, good or bad. Sure, feel free to look for signs and portents and omens. The preseason is a time for optimism. Just tap the brakes by keeping in mind that it’s a small sample size, no one is game-planning for opponents, and almost no one is playing with regular season effort.
For example, a common refrain I saw on Twitter and in text messages was that the Wizards have “not a bad player” on the roster. This is a) preposterously premature, and b) highly unlikely. They have more NBA-quality players than they’ve had in previous years, but some of these guys won’t be much good this season (that’s true of every team) and others are well established as average.
Average at multiple spots is an improvement, as I’ve written before. Last season, their SFs were collectively replacement level. They’ll surely be better there this year.
Anyway, the Wizards provided fodder for both optimists and pessimists. Like, they scored efficiently — an offensive rating of 118 (points per possession x 100). The team attempted 42 threes, which could potentially signal a shift in shot selection away from the midrange. Potentially.
They held their own on the boards and avoided turnovers. As you’ll see in the table below, newcomers Aaron Holiday, Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell and Corey Kispert were productive, as were returnees Bradley Beal, Daniel Gafford and Anthony Gill.
If you want something to worry about, their defense was terrible (defensive rating of 124), they allowed the Rockets an effective field goal percentage of 59.9%, and they just held their own on the glass against a team that’s not strong inside. And they got torched by Kevin Porter Jr., who’s been well below average so far in his young career, even last season when he was playing better in Houston.
My advice: don’t read too much into what happened last night, good or bad. It’s preseason and everyone in the league still has lots of work to do.
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 119 at Rockets 125
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.
|Kevin Porter Jr.||29||60||25||129||30.3%||221|
|Kenyon Martin Jr.||15||32||8||178||15.9%||339|
|Danuel House Jr.||17||35||4||81||19.6%||11|