The losses keep piling up for the staggering Washington Wizards. After sprinting to a 10-3 start, the Wizards have gone 5-11 — and with a brutal stretch of schedule in front of them, their next win might not come until 2022.
Last night, Washington repeatedly built leads, and the Sacramento Kings repeatedly reeled them back in. The Wizards threatened to open the game up when the lead hit 12 late in the third quarter. But they blundered through the last few minutes of the quarter, and things got worse in the fourth.
The Kings closed with a 42-16 run to win, 119-105.
As has been their habit since the hot start, the Wizards defense collapsed. The Kings had an effective field goal percentage of 59.8% en route to their 7th best offensive rating (points scored per possession x 100) of the season.
Washington didn’t make up for it on offense. Their efg was a below average 50.0%, and their offensive rating was just 106.
Their season may be on the precipice. According to my prediction machine, the next time they’re favored to win is January 3 against the Charlotte Hornets, which is 9 games into the future. They’re on a three-game losing streak.
A few of the problems they need to solve:
- They’ve “won” Daniel Gafford’s minutes in just 5 games so far this season. He blocks lots of shots, and he’s reputed to be a good rim protector, but the defense has been worse this season with him on the floor.
- After a fast start to the season from Spencer Dinwiddie, they’re getting almost nothing from the PG spot. Even with Dinwiddie’s struggles, he’s generally been better than Raul Neto and Aaron Holiday. Last night, all three had a negative PPA score.
- Bradley Beal still isn’t playing like Bradley Beal. Last night, he made some shots he’d been missing much of the year, but he fell apart in the fourth quarter — 2-7 shooting, a turnover and 3 fouls. The team is built around the (nonsensical) idea that Beal is their franchise player. He needs to at least play like a borderline All-NBA producer for them to have a shot at making the playoffs.
- Davis Bertans continues to miss — just 1-6 from three-point range last night.
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 105 at Kings 119
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: Kings