Built to win now, with designs on the playoffs, and facing the Indiana Pacers — a team more interested in getting a 14% chance to draft Victor Wembayana than assembling a competitive roster this season — the Wizards came out lethargic and posted a classic #SoWizards kind of loss.
Don’t blame Bradley Beal for this one. He had a terrific game — a hyper-efficient 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block. He shot 11-18 from the floor, 2-5 from three-point range, and he committed just 2 turnovers. His defense wasn’t stellar, but it was good enough to win if any of his teammates had been ready to contribute.
Big man Kristaps Porzingis was probably the most helpful — at least on offense. He scored efficiently (22 points with an offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) of 127), but the defense was a wreck when he was on the floor. Overall, his production was average. The Wizards were outscored by 13 points during his 31 minutes of playing time.
Backup center Daniel Gafford was pretty good in his 15 minutes of playing time. He converted at the rim, didn’t foul setting screens, and anchored the team’s best defensive stretches of the night.
With Delon Wright sidelined with a hamstring injury, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. kept Monte Morris in his usual rotation. Morris played 31 minutes and did a nice job setting up teammates, avoiding turnovers and playing acceptable defense. He also shot just 2-8 from the floor and didn’t hit any threes.
Kyle Kuzma’s glory stats look fine — 18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. But, he also shot just 7-19 from the floor and committed 3 turnovers.
Rui Hachimura contributed an inefficient, ineffective 25 minutes. He scored 10 points on 3-7 shooting but had zero assists and a turnover. His offensive rating was 100 vs. a league average of 112.5. In this game, the Pacers’ ortg was 125. Washington’s was 116. The defense was awful when Hachimura was out there — a recurring trend throughout the team’s first five games. And, the Wizards were -19 on the scoreboard with him out there. The team is now 0-5 during Hachimura’s minutes so far this season.
Deni Avdija had probably his worst game of the season. He managed just 7 points on 3-7 shooting, 2 rebounds, and 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 20 minutes. His primary contribution is defense, but he struggled to contain Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton.
In his first meaningful NBA minutes, rookie Johnny Davis was as overmatched as he was in summer league and preseason games. He scored 2 points and an assist in 7 minutes. Somehow, the team was -13 when he was on the floor.
Watching this game, I had the same reaction I do every time I see Haliburton play — How the hell did he fall to 12th in the draft? He torched the Wizards with savvy play, superb shot making and uncanny passing. He finished the night with 25 points and 12 assists to just one turnover. He shot 9-16 from the floor, 3-6 from three-point range, and 4-4 from the free throw line. To my reckoning, Haliburton was the best player on the floor last night, including Beal.
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: Pacers 127 at Wizards 117
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
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Key Stats: Pacers