Perhaps someone should alert the Wizards: It’s permissible under the rules of basketball to play well on both offense and defense in the same game.
So far this season, they’ve had stretches where the defense was good and the offense was bad, stretches where offense was good and the defense bad, and stretches where they were bad on both ends.
In fairness, the Wizards know this already. They’re in yawning pursuit of the elusive good/good combo — something other teams have found repeatedly against them f
or the past few decades this season.
Now, I won’t disagree if you want to argue Washington’s performance against the Los Angeles Clippers was more towards bad/bad or bad/so-so than bad/good. The LA M*A*S*H unit shot poorly, committed 14 turnovers and managed an offensive rating of just 106. It didn’t look like the Wizards did much particularly well on defense — the Clippers got open shots. They just missed.
For example, in the second half, the Clippers ran a standard NBA action (I think every team calls if “floppy”) for Luke Kennard on three consecutive possessions. The results, in order: a contested three — made, a semi-contested three — made, and an open three — missed.
Both teams had rotation players sidelined with injuries. For Washington, it was Bradley Beal, Delon Wright, and Rui Hachimura. Los Angeles was without the services of Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson.
- Jordan Goodwin shot poorly (just 2-7 from the floor) but was still the team’s most productive players. He played stellar defense and grabbed 8 rebounds (3 on the offensive end), and had 3 assists and 3 steals.
- Monte Morris was the only Wizards player whose offensive efficiency was above league average. He shot 5-9 from the floor, 2-2 from three, and had 5 assists to 1 turnover.
- Will Barton shot 4-5 from three-point range.
Not So Good Stuff
- Kristaps Porzingis does better against behemoths like Rudy Gobert. He has skills and an array of moves he can break out, but they’re simply less effective against more agile opponents. Where he should rise up and shoot over a shorter defender, Porzingis still deploys dribbles, fancy footwork and fakes. When he’s done spinning and lunging about, the defender is still between him and the basket, and the shot he gets is often contested and awkward. Sometimes simplicity is the best strategy — just using the height/length advantage to shoot over smaller opponents.
- Kyle Kuzma had yet another terrible game. He finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds, which sounds okay except that it too him 39 minutes, 18 field goal attempts, and 3 turnovers. And his defense was subpar again.
- Deni Avdija did some good things against the Clippers. He navigated screens effectively, gave a solid effort against Kawhi Leonard, grabbed 10 rebounds and produced 5 assists. But, his lack of shooting continues to be a drag on the offense because opposing defenders sag off and dare him to shoot. And he continues to undercut the value of his defense with excessive fouling.
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, I find the raw numbers more useful when analyzing a single game.
Four Factors: Wizards at Clippers
Stats & Metrics
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.
Stats & Metrics: Wizards
Stats & Metrics: Clippers
|Marcus Morris Sr.||33||67||10||94||14.6%||23||3.3||7|
|Brandon Boston Jr.||7||14||2||129||8.2%||89||2.8||6|