Look, it’s just not fair to expect the Wizards to play well in two consecutive games. They snapped their 10-game losing streak to the somnambulant Phoenix Suns, and it’s on the fans to make that joy stretch.
It’s downright unreasonable to want more from a team with only the NBA’s 12th highest payroll. If you can’t be happy with a group of battlers who can gut out 2 wins in 16 games, that’s on you.
Plus, the Wizards were missing Kristaps Porzingis, Deni Avdija and Delon Wright — AND YET THEY PUT ON THEIR UNIFORMS AND PLAYED THE GAME ANYWAY! Showing up in the correct clothes — that’s what this team does.
To recap: the Wizards stayed close to the Utah Jazz for three quarters, and then got their proverbial doors blown off in the fourth. They trailed by 16 when Wes Unseld Jr. surrendered, and they ended up losing by eight.
- Bradley Beal was excellent — 30 points on 13-20 shooting from the floor, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, just 2 turnovers. I heard via text that the Wizards broadcast team claimed Beal did some defense. Maybe I overlooked those parts of the game.
- Rui Hachimura returned after missing the previous 16 games with an ankle injury, and he wasn’t terrible — 7 points on 4 field goal attempts, plus 7 rebounds, an assist and a steal. While I’d hesitate to say he made a defensive impact, the Jazz did have a relatively difficult time scoring when he was out there.
- Corey Kispert hit a halfcourt jumper to end the first half. According to Basketball-Reference, it was Washington’s first made heave of the season.
- Jordan Goodwin played well. Again. He scored 11 points on 5-9 shooting, grabbed 5 rebounds and had 2 assists. His defense was solid. Again.
Not So Good Stuff
- Kyle Kuzma had yet another inefficient offensive game. He finished with 21 points on 8-18 shooting, and he had just 2 assists vs. 2 turnovers. His offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was 100 on a usage rate of 30.2%. Reminder: league average is 113.0. In this game, Washington’s ortg was 117 and Utah’s was 125. In non-Kuzma possessions, Washington’s org was 121.
- Wes Unseld Jr. gave Goodwin just 16 minutes despite ineffective play from Monte Morris. As I’ve noted a number of times, Morris is a good reserve, but he’s a bit beyond his capabilities as an every night starter. Unseld should start Goodwin — not because he’s better than Morris (though he might be), but because Goodwin’s athleticism and better defense could pair well with Beal, and Morris’ steady caretaking style could stabilize bench units.
- Johnny Davis had a yikes moment during garbage time. Anthony Gill had the ball out top, and he did the #SoGill move of turning down an open three. He dribbled towards Davis, who was in the corner — an action the Wizards use regularly to trigger a dribble handoff for a perimeter player, who often gets the ball on the run headed towards the basket. Davis literally ran away — cutting baseline and clearing to the far side where the Wizards already had three players. That left Gill with no choice but to go iso, and he ended up scoring on a floater. Still, it’s disconcerting to see a 10th overall pick run from a no-stakes opportunity.
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 Jazz
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: Jazz