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Wizards losing skid hits 5. It’s likely to get longer.

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards center Alex Len dunks against the Sacramento Kings.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings are one of the NBA’s weaker teams. The Wizards lost to them anyway to earn their second five-game losing streak of the season.

Against one of the worst defensive teams in league history — the Kings have a defensive rating of 119.2, which is the highest on record — the Wizards were below average from the floor (.511 effective field goal percentage) and committed 15 turnovers. Overall, their offensive rating was 109 — 10 points per 100 possessions below Sacramento’s average.

This really wasn’t caused by the Kings defending well. Washington got an array of open shots, which they missed. The team shot 4-25 from three-point range.

Now 39 games into the season, it’s time to retire the idea that the Wizards are good on offense and bad on defense. Accounting for the quality of opponent, the the Wizards have been 2.2 points per 100 possessions worse than average on both offense and defense this season. Unlike previous iterations in franchise history, this isn’t a case of well if they fix the defense they could be good. They need fixes on defense and offense.

Last night’s game provides a useful illustration of production. Rui Hachimura had 17 points and 9 rebounds in 38 minutes for the Wizards; Harrison Barnes had 18 and 8 in 36 minutes for the Kings. But Barnes’ PPA (see table below) was a very good 187 while Hachimura’s was a below average 62.

Some key differences

  • FGA — Hachimura 7-15; Barnes 6-12. Hachimura was an inefficient 1-3 on those extra shot attempts. And, it took him 3 additional FGA to produce 1 less point.
  • 3pt shooting — Hachimura 0-3; Barnes 1-4. In effect, added half a make to Barnes’ shooting night — 6.5-12. In a game where the Wizards had an efg of .511, Hachimura shot .467. The Kings shot .495 for the game. Barnes’ efg was .542.
  • Rebounds — Even though Hachimura had 1 more total rebound (9-8), Barnes had a slight edge in contributing towards a win because he had a 2-1 edge in offensive rebounds.
  • Assists — Hachimura 0; Barnes 5.
  • Turnovers — While Hachimura’s 1 turnover in 85 possessions is hardly a problem, Barnes committed zero in 81 possessions.
  • Fouls — Hachimura 4; Barnes 0. Those fouls turn into free throws, which are efficient possessions for the opposing team.

For another object lesson in production, we could look once again at Russell Westbrook. He had yet another triple-double — 26 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists — but shot just 8-19 from the floor and committed 6 turnovers and 3 fouls. The Wizards had an efg of .511; Westbrook shot .447.

The only Wizards to rate better than average last night were Bradley Beal, who scored 29 points on 20 shots (0-5 from three-point range), and Alex Len, who had 13 points on 7 shots, and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Washington’s losing skid has a high chance of reaching 6 with the league-best Utah Jazz on the schedule tonight. I have the Wizards with a 15% chance of beating the Jazz. And, they’re substantial underdogs against the Brooklyn Nets (18% chance of winning) and the New York Knicks (30% chance of winning either game, about a 49% chance of taking one of the two). The Wizards are coin flip favorites against the Detroit Pistons on March 27.

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.

PACE is possessions per 48 minutes.

Four Factors: Kings at Wizards

EFG 0.495 0.511
OREB 6 10
TOV 8 15
FTM 29 23
PACE 109
ORTG 111 109

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 36 81 124 -3
Alex Len 24 54 157 -2
Russell Westbrook 39 89 89 -8
Raul Neto 27 61 99 11
Rui Hachimura 38 85 62 0
Robin Lopez 22 49 88 -2
Deni Avdija 18 40 32 -2
Davis Bertans 23 53 -25 5
Garrison Mathews 15 33 -91 -9

Kings PPA

Harrison Barnes 36 81 187 -5
Cory Joseph 25 58 215 -8
De'Aaron Fox 36 82 116 7
Tyrese Haliburton 33 74 98 4
Richaun Holmes 27 61 91 6
Justin James 19 42 103 1
Buddy Heild 31 70 56 -1
Hassan Whiteside 20 45 -51 0
Nemanja Bjelica 15 33 -86 6