Here’s how bad things got in the Wizards’ 117-96 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers: there weren’t even any moral victories.
Like, Montrezl Harrell played well — an efficient 15 points in just 18 minutes, plus 4 rebounds and 3 assists — but then got himself ejected with an immature push of Philly star Joel Embiid. Chalk the tussle between Harrell and Embiid a few minutes before to a misunderstanding. It looked on replay like Embiid grabbed Harrell to keep from falling, and Harrell thought it was a fight starting.
The incident that got Harrell tossed was just dumb. Embiid was shouting in celebration of a good play. The same thing happens a dozen times per game. Harrell decided to take it personally and pushed him, which led to a quick second technical and trip to the showers. Dumb. Immature.
Back to the lack of moral victories, Washington’s entire starting lineup rated below average in PPA. Spencer Dinwiddie looked good on a handful of plays, but then would have an attempted drive snuffed by the likes of Furkan Korkmaz.
Starting in Beal’s spot, Aaron Holiday managed 8 points and 1 assist in 28 minutes.
Even the Garbage Time Gang — Jordan Schakel, Joel Ayayi and Isaiah Todd — were terrible.
If you want something a little more optimistic, I have two items:
- Davis Bertans made some threes — 4-9 from downtown.
- Deni Avdjia was decent.
I kvetched on Twitter during the game about Justin Kutcher’s and Drew Gooden’s discussion about the Wizards’ totally awesome depth and the problems Wes Unseld Jr. will have fitting all these wonderful pieces together when they’re all healthy and back in action. And I would love to drive a pike through the head of this inane zombie narrative.
Depth is multiple good players at various positions. Having a bunch of average-to-below-average players at the same position is not depth. The Wizards aren’t a deep team except at PF, and their depth is comprised of mediocrity. Setting aside the Homer Spectacles for a moment, let’s classify where the Wizards players rank in the NBA:
- Spencer Dinwiddie — average (maybe a little better than average at his best)
- Raul Neto — below average
- Aaron Holiday — replacement level
- Bradley Beal — All-Star level
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — average
- Deni Avdija — average to below average
- Corey Kispert — well-below average
- Kyle Kuzma — average
- Rui Hachimura — average
- Davis Bertans — average to below average
- Anthony Gill — well-below average
- Daniel Gafford — a little above average
- Montrezl Harrell — a little above average
- Thomas Bryant — a little above average (pre-injury)
So, let’s stop praising the Wizards for being deep. They’re not.
And let’s especially not do it when the team is trailing by 20 in the fourth quarter.
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: 76ers 117 at Wizards 96
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: 76ers