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By the Numbers: Wizards stomped by Hornets

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell writes about how “the screen” revolutionized the music world. Long-held beliefs about what was necessary to be an orchestral musician crumbled when they began keeping candidates for open positions out of view.

The idea for today was to evaluate the Wizards game against the Hornets from behind a screen — to not watch or read the impression of others, but to evaluate the game’s statistical information and see what can be learned.

Unfortunately, this is the Wizards and even early-season intellectual exercises are rendered largely moot. There just isn’t much meaningful analysis to be extracted from a game in which a bad team gets stomped by a mediocre one.

Wizards-Hornets lead tracker.

For the sake of the exercise, here are a few observations from the numbers:

  • Neither team shot well, but Charlotte still had an efficient day offensively (116 points per 100 possessions) because of 18 offensive rebounds (a 33.3% offensive rebound rate). This must have been frustrating to watch.
  • The Wizards had an effective field goal percentage of 42.8% and they shot 9-40 from three-point range. The box score is almost painful to look at — Russell Westbrook 0-3, Davis Bertans 2-7, Deni Avdija 0-2, Troy Brown Jr. 0-5, Mortiz Wagner 0-3. Ugh.
  • Bradley Beal had a good game though zero assists raises an eyebrow. Beal’s been number two in the team’s playmaking ranks (behind Westbrook). I guessed that Beal made passes to open shooters who missed, but tracking data credits him with just 3 potential assists. The team leaders in potential assists were Westbrook (21) and Ish Smith (16).
  • Westbrook had a decent looking stat line if I stay focused on the 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. It’s less good when I note 4-9 shooting (0-3 from three-point range), 4-8 from the free throw line and 5 turnovers. He still ends up with a slightly above average 115 PPA but he’s still not performing like even the Westbrook from last season in Houston. The Wizards need that guy if they have any for salvaging the season.
  • Robin Lopez’s 14 points and 5 rebounds were offset by taking meh shooting (6-12 from the floor) and 4 turnovers. At least he mixed things up — the play-by-play says his turnovers were one each of lost ball, bad pass, traveling, and offensive foul. The Wizards should have gone full midlevel exception for that kind of versatility.

That’s enough on the Wizards side. Virtually looks bad in the numbers — Lopez, Bertans, Avdija, Isaac Bonga, Brown, and Wagner all rated solidly below replacement level.

For the Hornets, Terry Rozier was excellent, as was LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Miles Bridges. Cody Zeller was also productive. I’m guessing his playing time may have been curtailed by fouls.

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 Hornets

EFG 0.500 0.428
OREB 18 12
TOV 11 14
FTM 20 20
PACE 102 102
ORTG 116 95

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

Bradley Beal 28 60 193 -27
Russell Westbrook 28 59 115 -20
Raul Neto 16 35 155 7
Ish Smith 27 58 88 -9
Rui Hachimura 23 49 72 -29
Garrison Mathews 8 17 142 1
Alex Len 8 17 85 -13
Anthony Gill 3 7 150 4
Robin Lopez 23 49 3 -7
Davis Bertans 19 40 4 -1
Deni Avdija 15 33 -17 -22
Isaac Bonga 8 18 -44 6
Troy Brown Jr. 16 34 -126 2
Moritz Wagner 17 36 -119 -2

Hornets PPA

Terry Rozier 30 65 338 29
Cody Zeller 20 43 369 14
LaMelo Ball 31 65 212 14
Gordon Hayward 30 64 200 27
Miles Bridges 31 66 174 12
Malik Monk 32 67 55 13
Bismack Biyombo 11 23 14 5
Nick Richards 7 14 -190 -4
P.J. Washington 28 60 -56 17
Cody Martin 8 18 -204 -6
Caleb Martin 13 27 -225 -11