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Wizards fall short against the Bucks

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A look at the numbers and an introduction to SIR.

Washington Wizards v Milwaukee Bucks
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook’s triple-double against the Bucks was worth 47 points on the scoreboard, according to Kevin Broom’s Scoreboard Impact Rating.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s okay. The Milwaukee Bucks are a title contender and one of the best teams in the NBA. They have an elite player in Giannis Antetokounmpo (whose name I just spelled correctly without having to look it up for the first time ever), two excellent “second star” types (Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton), and a bunch of solid pros who are productive and know how to play.

Missing Middleton basically evened things up a bit with the Wizards — over the past month, the Wizards have had an elite performer on many nights in Russell Westbrook, an excellent “second star” in Bradley Beal, and then a grab-bag of different guys on different nights doing the supporting cast thing.

The formula held for the Wizards, at least at the top. Westbrook was terrific again — 29 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists, good shooting and just 2 turnovers. As you’ll see below, according to my Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR — we’ll set aside PPA tonight), his production was worth 47 points to the Wizards.

Beal was outstanding as well — 42 points on just 24 field goal attempts. He attacked the rim relentlessly (11-14 from the free throw line) and he made 3-6 from three-point range. According to SIR, his production was worth 37 points on the scoreboard.

Daniel Gafford dominated in his brief moments on the court — 12 points, 10 rebounds and a block in just 14 minutes. He got 32 possessions on the floor. The other parts of The Hydra combined for 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in 77 possessions. Altogether, the centers tag-teamed their way to production worth 26 points.

Garrison Mathews had a nice game in scant playing time, primarily because the Bucks defenders were unaware that he jumps forward when he shoots threes.

The rest of the team didn’t contribute much. Four players — Alex Len, Chandler Hutchison, Isaac Bonga, and Ish Smith — collectively played 47.9 minutes and had production that added nothing — zero points — to the scoreboard. Add in another 18 minutes from Anthony Gill whose production was worth 2 points, and 28 minutes from Davis Bertans, whose play was worth 6. This game was a heavy lift for Beal and Westbrook.

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.

Wizards at Bucks

FOUR FACTORS BUCKS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS BUCKS WIZARDS
EFG 0.640 0.531
OREB 10 11
TOV 19 7
FTM 21 32
PACE 109
ORTG 124 123

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.

Scoreboard Impact Rating: Wizards

WIZARDS MIN POSS SIR +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS SIR +/-
Russell Westbrook 40 92 47 2
Bradley Beal 39 88 37 -8
Daniel Gafford 14 32 19 -2
Garrison Mathews 12 28 9 6
Raul Neto 23 53 8 10
Robin Lopez 17 40 7 -2
Davis Bertans 28 62 6 -9
Anthony Gill 18 41 2 5
Alex Len 17 37 0 3
Chandler Hutchison 3 7 0 -1
Isaac Bonga 6 14 0 -4
Ish Smith 22 50 0 -5

In case you were wondering, here are the team’s full-season leaders in SIR per game:

  1. Beal — 26.4
  2. Westbrook — 19.6
  3. Thomas Bryant — 15.8
  4. Daniel Gafford — 11.9
  5. Rui Hachimura — 10.8
  6. Davis Bertans — 9.4
  7. Raul Neto — 8.5
  8. Robin Lopez — 7.8
  9. Alex Len — 7.5
  10. Ish Smith — 6.2
  11. Garrison Mathews — 5.3
  12. Deni Avdija — 5.2
  13. Anthony Gill — 2.8

League Leaders

  1. Jimmy Butler 41.1
  2. Kawhi Leonard 39.3
  3. Stephen Curry 37.0
  4. Nikola Jokic 36.8
  5. James Harden 36.3
  6. Giannis 36.0
  7. LeBron James 35.1
  8. Kyrie Irving 35.1
  9. Zion Williamson 32.0
  10. Kevin Durant 31.4

Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, and Damian Lillard are within a point of the top 10. Beal ranks 24th overall in a group with Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Mike Conley and CJ McCollum.

Scoreboard Impact Rating: Bucks

BUCKS MIN POSS SIR +/-
BUCKS MIN POSS SIR +/-
Pat Connaughton 32 72 27 7
Donte DiVincenzo 20 46 26 -7
Jrue Holiday 32 72 18 -3
Jeff Teague 23 51 17 14
Bryne Forbes 26 59 16 0
Giannis Antetokounmpo 30 67 13 -1
Brook Lopez 26 60 9 -2
Bobby Portis 16 37 9 -6
Thanasis Antetokounmpo 16 35 0 4
PJ Tucker 20 46 0 -1

Also, if someone can come up with a better name for this SIR stat, I will send you a bespoke Wizards-themed T-shirt that I will force my son to design. Bonus points if you can work in the name of a current or former player from franchise history — like Nate Silver’s PECOTA (which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), or Kevin Pelton’s SCHOENE, or Football Outsiders’ KUBIAK, and so on.

Extra bonus points if you can figure out a way to name this thing after Charles Jones.