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Wizards lose again, and now the schedule gets tougher

NBA: New York Knicks at Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards guard argues with the ref.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure it’s happened before. I just haven’t seen it.

Even in blowouts, the losing team has someone that plays well. It might be some end-of-bench kid who goes 2-3 from the floor and grabs a couple rebounds in 8 minutes of garbage time. Maybe it’s a starter who has a good scoring night while the rest of the team blows chunks.

Not the Wizards, though. Not last night in their loss to the New York Knicks.

Nope, last night, the Wizards earned the dubious distinction of having everyone suck at the same time.

Look at the table below — every Washington player rated below average in my Player Production Average metric. Every. Single. One.

Russell Westbrook continues to provide a season-long lesson in the uselessness of looking at Glory Stats (points, rebounds, assists) in isolation. His 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 10 assists look great, but they came with 5 turnovers, 12 missed field goal attempts and 3-6 shooting from the free throw line.

Garrison Mathews scored 14 points in his first start, but shot just 4-13 from the floor and contributed almost nothing else. Davis Bertans shot 2-6 from three-point range, yet another substandard shooting night for him, and managed just 5 rebounds in 31 minutes.

Raul Neto, the team’s production leader (on a per possession basis) was meh, shooting 2-5 from the floor but getting some defensive rebounds.

Overall, the Wizards were dominated on the boards 65-46. It probably would have been worse, but Mitchell Robinson’s fractured his hand after grabbing 14 rebounds in just 20 minutes.

As a group, the Wizards rated below replacement level last night. The Knicks were modestly better than average, which is all that’s needed for a comfortable win against Washington.

The Wizards now have the league’s second worst winning percentage and the third worst scoring margin — a remarkable achievement considering they’ve played the league’s third easiest schedule. In strength of schedule adjusted scoring margin, they’re dead last. And the schedule gets more difficult in the coming week.

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.

Also, someone asked why pace was always the same. The answer: I typically average possessions because they’re approximately equal between teams in each game. The actual count can fluctuate by a possession or two based on end of quarter stuff. So, today I’ve tweaked the table to report each team’s possessions without averaging.

Four Factors: Knicks at Wizards

EFG 0.480 0.433
OREB 15 9
TOV 10 14
FTM 14 14
PACE 100 101
ORTG 108 90

Player Production Average

Below are Player Production Average (PPA) results from last night’s game. PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, play-making, 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.

PPA is a per possession stat. 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.

Wizards PPA

Russell Westbrook 35 73 90 -19
Davis Bertans 31 66 83 -16
Garrison Mathews 25 53 92 -2
Raul Neto 15 32 99 -2
Ish Smith 12 25 70 -4
Alex Len 21 44 30 -2
Troy Brown Jr. 21 45 34 -6
Moritz Wagner 5 10 93 7
Robin Lopez 21 44 11 -18
Deni Avdija 22 45 -57 -3
Rui Hachimura 33 69 -39 -25

Knicks PPA

Julius Randle 32 68 266 17
Derrick Rose 20 42 407 18
Mitchell Robinson 20 42 327 16
Elfrid Payton 23 49 152 7
Obi Toppin 16 33 183 1
Immanuel Quickley 22 45 110 16
Taj Gibson 12 25 112 3
Nerlens Noel 16 34 59 -1
Reggie Bullock 19 39 -10 2
Austin Rivers 3 6 -154 -5
Theo Pinson 3 6 -154 -5
RJ Barrett 26 54 -18 5
Alec Burks 26 54 -18 21
Kevin Knox II 4 8 -451 -5