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Can Chandler Hutchison be the Wizards’ secret weapon against the 76ers?

The reserve forward could provide more than TikTok videos.

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards - Play-In Tournament
Could Chandler Hutchison be a secret weapon for the Washington Wizards in their series against the Philadelphia 76ers? Probably not.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

I received a text from a friend that tapped into a prevailing topic of discussion since the Wizards lost game 1 to the Philadelphia 76ers.

He wrote:

What’s Hutchison’s PPA? Would he help give the Wizards a better chance against Philly?

The short answers: not good, and probably not.

PPA (Player Production Average) is my overall production metric. It credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending), and dings them for things that don’t (missed shots, turnovers, fouling, bad defense) — each in proper proportion. PPA is a per possession stat that accounts for defense and includes a “degree of difficulty” factor based on the level of competition faced when a player is on the floor.

In PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. Here are Hutchison’s PPA scores during his young career:

  • 2018-19, CHI — 53
  • 2019-20, CHI — 68
  • 2020-21, CHI — -37
  • 2020-21, WAS — 32

The negative from Chicago this season was small sample size theater — he played just 64 minutes with the Bulls this year. The sample with the Wizards is also just 282 minutes. Unfortunately, the large sample of his entire career is dismal — a PPA of just 40.

What does Hutchison do well? Rebounds (career 10.1 per 100 team possessions), and...well that’s about it. His three-point percentage looked decent this season, but on tiny volume (8-22, 36.4%). With one fewer make, his percentage would have been basically at his career percentage (which is also on puny volume — just 110 career attempts).

He’s decidedly not a playmaker. His turnovers are elevated considering how little he touches the ball. He’s about average in generating steals and his blocks are below average — somewhat surprising for someone with his length and athleticism.

His offensive efficiency has been atrocious in each of his seasons, and was horrible with the Wizards — just 93 points per 100 individuals possessions (league average was 112.3 this season).

A significant part of the problem is an inability to finish around the rim. With the Wizards, he’s shot just 41.2% at-rim. Chalk that up to a small sample size fluke — he shot about 60% at-rim in his first two seasons. The problem: league average at-rim is about 66%.

So, in Hutchison, the Wizards have a guy who isn’t a playmaker, doesn’t finish well around the basket, is an (at best) unproven three-point shooter, and is a meh (at best) defender. Also, looking only at games Hutchison appeared in, the Wizards were 4.5 points per 100 possessions worse offensively with him in the game, and 9.7 points per 100 worse defensively.

Hutchison’s performance has been unfortunately consistent. In 90 career games with at least 6 minutes of playing time, Hutchison has produced at league average or better just 17 times (19%). He’s rated below replacement level 49 times (54%) and as a net negative 25 times (28%).

PPA Frequency

  • 200+ 3%
  • 150+ 9%
  • 100+ 19%
  • 100> 81%
  • 45> 54%
  • Negative 28%

After texting some of the above to my friend, he replied:

What about Bonga? Mathews? Is there any hope?

Unfortunately, the analysis is much the same. Aside from getting lucky with an aberrant performance from Hutchison, Garrison Mathews or Isaac Bonga — or maybe Anthony Gill — the Wizards aren’t likely to get much help in this series from the wings on their roster.