What I want is to write something full of optimism about the Wizards getting back on the right track with their 101-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. But if I claimed to be encouraged, I’d be lying.
The bright side: they did get the win, and an ugly win is still a win. It’s the kind of game previous versions of the Wizards would have found a way to lose.
But real talk: the Wizards went to the wire with a terrible team that’s designed to lose. As a reminder, the Thunder entered the game:
- 27th in strength of schedule adjusted scoring margin
- 29th in offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions)
- 15th in defensive rating
And the Wizards struggled to pull out a win. The Thunder entered the game with an offensive rating of 100.5. Against Washington, their ortg was 103. OKC came in with a defensive rating of 107.8. Against the Wizards, it was 105.
Even in the loss, the Thunder raised their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers in this game against the Wizards.
Positives for the Wizards: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit some shots, and Daniel Gafford blocked seemingly everything. Other than that, enough guys made just enough positive plays to offset their bad ones and pull out the win.
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.
Four Factors: Wizards 101 at Thunder 99
Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). 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).
Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard in this game. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.
PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.
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. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.
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.
Key Stats: Wizards
Key Stats: Thunder