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Top 5 things the Wizards do well

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Miami Heat
Washington Wizards center Alex Len or Slavic god? It’s tough to tell the difference.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

A fierce fourth quarter rally led by Alex Len, who may be the physical embodiment of the Slavic god Rod, fell just short and the Wizards lost to the Miami Heat 122-95. It was a nail-biter to the end — Washington needed only 9 threes in the final minutes to send the game into overtime.

After an inspiring performance that ends with a tough loss, less disciplined and mature fans may let their thoughts wander to the negative. So, as a public service, here are five things the Wizards are doing well:

  1. Trying — The players run up and down the floor. They jump. They sweat and get out of breath. Head coach Scott Brooks stands and glowers at times. Other times, he folds his arms and looks frustrated. Most of the players get to participate at least some of the time. They’ll all treasure the little trophies they receive at the end-of-season team pool party hosted by Ted Leonsis.
  2. Sacrificing — Sure, to the untrained eye it might look like many of the Wizards are incapable of basketball basics like taking open shots or driving to the basket, but in reality they’re collectively sacrificing their careers and reputations to unlock Bradley Beal’s true powers. It’ll all be clear when Beal goes Super Saiyan.
  3. Building Self-Esteem — Only the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic are doing as much to make other NBA teams feel good about themselves.
  4. Inspiring Meme Content — Brooks is a true leader in this area with comments like “the rotation didn’t come back around,” “gotta pick someone,” and “I made a decision.”
  5. Crushing Hope — Drawing from the reservoir of experience that can only be filled from a franchise culture built over decades, the Wizards play just well enough to make fans think they’re about to turn the corner and become maybe good, only to drop a turd at center court and inspire those same fans to scream agony into the void.

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.

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.

Four Factors: Wizards at Heat

FOUR FACTORS HEAT WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS HEAT WIZARDS
EFG 0.586 0.420
OREB 9 12
TOV 16 18
FTM 20 21
PACE 103 103
ORTG 119 93

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.

I’ve added possessions (POSS) for each player — total number of possessions they were on the floor in this game. I’m looking at adding PPA by quarter, but ran out of energy for that when they were down 37 in the third quarter.

Wizards PPA

WIZARDS MIN POSS PPA +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS PPA +/-
Alex Len 24 52 219 2
Robin Lopez 20 42 115 -22
Davis Bertans 16 35 146 -18
Ish Smith 26 55 83 -9
Deni Avdija 16 34 40 -11
Jerome Robinson 16 35 24 5
Moritz Wagner 4 9 57 -7
Isaac Bonga 18 39 6 2
Rui Hachimura 27 58 0 -25
Garrison Mathews 5 10 -104 -7
Troy Brown Jr. 16 34 -51 2
Russell Westbrook 25 53 -71 -22
Bradley Beal 27 59 -68 -25

Heat PPA

HEAT MIN POSS PPA +/-
HEAT MIN POSS PPA +/-
Jimmy Butler 26 55 376 34
Kelly Olynyk 21 44 415 18
Bam Adebayo 28 59 263 29
Kendrick Nunn 32 68 226 17
Andre Iguodala 24 52 265 -1
Tyler Herro 29 63 142 5
Max Strus 8 17 264 -13
Goran Dragic 22 48 87 22
Gabe Vincent 2 4 0 2
KZ Okpala 2 4 -493 2
Duncan Robinson 26 56 -116 22
Precious Achiuwa 20 43 -168 -2