I’m not saying the Wizards are actually good — it’s just four games. But the 120-99 thumping they gave the Detroit Pistons is the type of game good teams have.
The long-standing NBA tradition is to celebrate close games where heroic players come through in the clutch. In truth, winning teams typically build leads and hang on to the final buzzer. When they play a bad team (like the Pistons), the good team stomps them. Not always, of course, but enough that it’s a pattern. Enough that basketball analytics guru, and current Wizards assistant coach, wrote about it.
Good teams don’t win lots of close games, they avoid close games.
Last night, the Wizards avoided a close game by opening a small lead in the second quarter, expanding it in the third and coasting to the end with enough comfort that Johnny Davis got to make his NBA debut during garbage time.
The most dominant player on the floor was reserve guard Delon Wright, despite notching just 5 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists. The Pistons scored with decent efficiency early in the game. When Wright took the floor, he wrecked Detroit’s offense with 4 steals, 1 block and 6 deflections in just 33 possessions. Pistons players couldn’t dribble or pass with Wright in the vicinity. His playing time was limited because of a hamstring problem.
The runner-up in deflections? Detroit’s Jaden Ivey, who had 4 in 29 minutes.
With Bradley Beal sidelined because of back tightness, Will Barton filled in admirably with 16 points on just 9 field goal attempts. Kristaps Porzingis also had a good night offensively, though his defense was lackluster.
Kyle Kuzma led scorers with 25 points, though his came on subpar efficiency.
Other positives: Deni Avdija had a good all-around game (9 points on plus efficiency, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, 2 blocks and no turnovers). He defended well and even hit a three.
Rui Hachimura had some strong plays in the first half, but his offensive output tailed off, and he was once again largely a non-contributor in other aspects of the game (1 assist, no steals or blocks, and the team defense was significantly worse when he was on the floor). The Pistons outscored the Wizards by 5 with Hachimura in the game — Washington’s only player with a negative on/off.
Detroit’s roster is stocked with youngsters with varying levels of potential. Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart could be the foundation of a good team someday. While each made some impressive plays, none of them rated even average last night.
The Wizards took care of business by pummeling the talented youngsters and recording an easy win.
The Four Factors
Below are the four factors that decide wins and losses 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.
Four Factors: Pistons 99 at Wizards 120
Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls).
Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.
PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.
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 last season was 112.0. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.
USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.
ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach 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.
Key Stats: Wizards
Key Stats: Pistons
|Kevin Knox II||3||7||2||103||22.5%||-47||0.0||-5|