Let’s put last night’s game aside for a moment. It’s the kind of thing to be expected in a No. 1 v. No. 8 seed matchup.
The prevalent sentiment on Twitter — and in my infernal text messages — was that the Wizards are being held back by That Moron Scott Brooks who’s too stupid to play (depending on who’s complaining) Chandler Hutchison, Garrison Mathews, Anthony Gill or Isaac Bonga. One guy tweeted at us that Brooks should employ the never-fail strategy of “something else.”
To be clear, I’m in favor of replacing Brooks (I hear Someone Else is GREAT). But when I watched the season and these playoffs games, what I continue to see is a deficient roster. As I wrote last weekend:
The Wizards have to address small forward in the offseason. I ran PPA scores for the Wizards by position (as assigned by Basketball-Reference) and here’s the breakdown (in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better, and replacement level is 45):
The SF group was Deni Avdija, Chandler Hutchison, Troy Brown Jr., and Isaac Bonga. B-R classifies Garrison Mathews as a SG. Making him a SF boosts the position’s PPA to 43. Brown’s PPA in Chicago: 75.
“Addressing” the position should include a serious offseason development plan for Avdija. It should also include bringing in some help that’s not currently on the roster.
Here’s a quick look at the rotations, ordered by PPA (PPA is my overall production metric. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.):
- Joel Embiid, PHI — 201
- Tobias Harris, PHI — 168
- Bradley Beal, WAS — 153
- Ben Simmons, PHI — 149
- Russell Westbrook, WAS 134
- Daniel Gafford, WAS 130
- Danny Green, PHI 127
- Seth Curry, PHI 114
- Alex Len, WAS 106
- Raul Neto, WAS 93
- Robin Lopez, WAS 87
- Furkan Korkmaz, PHI 86
- Dwight Howard, PHI 85
- Rui Hachimura, WAS 75
- Matisse Thybulle, PHI 74
- Davis Bertans, WAS 73
- Tyrese Maxey, PHI 72
- Shake Milton, PHI 71
- Ish Smith, WAS 69
- George Hill, PHI 54 (in Philly)
So, Philly (at least according to PPA) has the two most productive players in the series, three of the top four, and five of the top eight. Gill’s PPA in 218 total minutes this season was 90. If there was a draft from these teams to win one game, the order of the top five would shuffle a bit, but the top two would still come from Philly, and it’s arguable that it could be the top three.
The Wizards’ top six rotation producers: are a SG (Beal), two PGs (Westbrook and Neto), and three centers (Gafford, Len and Lopez). Hachimura and Bertans each rated well-below average this season.
Mathews this season: 64. Hutchison: 32. Bonga: 4. Their best SF was Deni Avdija, who rated at replacement level, or maybe Mathews, who was well-below average and whose production dropped the more he played.
Brooks isn’t a good NBA coach. In a fantasy draft of coaches, he’d go at or near the bottom. But, as I’ve been saying all season, he’s a problem, not The Problem. The Problem is a lack of talent on the roster. A motivated 76ers team with title aspirations is making that clear.
And by the way, as you’ll see in the table below, Brooks gave all the “Play Bench Guy You Idiot” heroes minutes, and they all stunk. Gill, Hutchison, Mathews and Bonga played a combined 36 minutes last night against Philadelphia. Collectively, they had 4 points on 1-10 shooting (0-3 from three-point range), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover, and 2 fouls.
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.
Game 2: Wizards at 76ers
Scoreboard Impact Rating
Below are Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR) results from last night’s game. It’s based on my PPA metric, but it shows each player’s TOTAL contribution for the game in terms of points on the scoreboard. This may make more sense for a single game — PPA is a per possession metric, which probably makes more sense over a larger sample size.
Since SIR is based on the PPA metric, it 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). The scale is points.
POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.
PTS = points scored
ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average this season is 112.3.
USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.
ORTG and USG were created by Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.
Game 2: Wizards SIR & ORTG
Game 2: 76ers SIR & ORTG