Here’s the kind of game it was last night: During 3-4 consecutive possessions in the second quarter, Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle got the ball on the wing with an open lane and a (redundancy alert) meh Wizards defender on him. On each of those possessions, Randle made some moves before settling for midrange jumpers.
I tweeted this:
Randle is making defense easy for the Wizards. Keeps settling for those long twos.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 24, 2021
And, Randle finished the night with 37 points on 24 field goal attempts, including going 7-10 from three-point range. What’s strange is that despite the efficient scoring, it wasn’t a great night for Randle. He managed just 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 38 minutes, as well 3 turnovers and 5 fouls. It was a very good night, but not great.
That’s really the case for his Knicks teammates as well. When the Wizards fell behind by 20...and then 30...I never felt like the Knicks were playing well. They were blowing Washington out because the Wizards were playing that bad.
The numbers (see table below) bear that out for the most part. The Wizards who played well did it mostly in garbage time. The “stars” and the rotation guys were mostly awful.
Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook were replacement level for the night. Garrison Mathews did basically nothing for 21 minutes. What little Rui Hachimura did was bad.
There’s nothing to take from this loss. No one’s semi-competent performance in garbage time should give hope. The humiliation may temporarily motivate the team to give extra effort, to focus more on execution, to pay heed to what the coaches are telling them. But it won’t last because the players aren’t good enough.
Firing Scott Brooks won’t hurt, but it won’t help either. This team needs an infusion of productive talent across the board. Their best players aren’t elite. Their rotation players are below average. Their end of bench guys don’t belong in the league.
They’ll rally and win some more games and maybe even inch a notch or two closer to 10th place. But that won’t change the truth about the team. The simple reason the Wizards keep losing: the players aren’t good enough. Not close.
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: Wizards at Knicks
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.
|Troy Brown Jr.||15||32||134||12|
|Kevin Knox II||2||4||0||0|