Confession time: I’m old enough to remember when the 2022-23 Washington Wizards appeared to be a good defensive team. They’ve been staggering the past several games, and this being the Washington Wizards, they maximized fan infuriation by giving up 117 points in just 94 possessions to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets entered the game ranked 30th out of 30 offensively so far this season.
Yes, the Wizards — allegedly good at defense — made the NBA’s worst offense look like the Boston Celtics, which this season could have the best offense of all time.
Charlotte averages more than 15 turnovers per game. Last night against the Wizards: 4. Their offensive rebounding percentage for the season is 26.6%. Last night: 40.6%. At 32.0% they came in as the NBA’s second worst three-point shooting team. Against Washington: 41.4%.
Think about it a sec — in the fourth quarter, Charlotte shot 4-23 from the floor, 0-7 from three-point range, got outrebounded 20-10, and got outscored 28-10, and won against a team with all its “stars” and an allegedly deep and abiding desire to contend for the playoffs.
And the Hornets did it without LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, two of their best players.
Say it with me: #SoWizards.
- Bradley Beal had a good game — 33 points on strong efficiency (128 offensive rating), 6 rebounds, 7 assists. He also had three turnovers, including two in the final minutes, and he missed the potential game winner.
- Corey Kispert started the second half at forward and was productive and efficient, shooting 4-7 from three-point range. His defense wasn’t awful.
- Monte Morris was efficient (16 points on 6 field goal attempts, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover) and made good decisions in pick and roll. His defense was lackluster.
- Daniel Gafford was awesome — 10 points, 12 rebounds (6 on the offensive glass) and 6 blocks in 24 minutes.
- For the first time this season, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. went to a Twin Towers lineup with Gafford and Kristaps Porzingis playing together. The duo was on the floor during Washington’s second half comeback. It’s at least worth seeing again.
The Not So Good
- Deni Avdija was awful and spent the second half on the bench. Eric Collins and Dell Curry on the Hornets broadcast noticed that Avdija didn’t touch the ball in the first quarter and rooted for him to get a touch in his second shift. They were disappointed when Avdija missed the two-foot shot. Curry said the second-half benching made sense because Avdija had been “inconsequential” in the first. Yikes.
- Kyle Kuzma disappeared for long stretches of the game.
- Jordan Goodwin had another bad game. He was 1-5 from the floor, committed a turnover and got lit up on the defensive end. The team was -11 in his 14 minutes.
- Gafford played well, but he also got called for delay of game for subbing into the game with his shirt untucked and his shorts not tied. It was Washington’s second delay of game, which gave the Hornets a free throw. The final margin: 1 point.
- Kristaps Porzingis had nice looking glory stats — 21 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists. But, he shot 5-14 from the floor, 0-6 from three-point range, and committed 4 turnovers.
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, I find the raw numbers more useful when analyzing a single game.
Four Factors: Wizards at Hornets
The 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: Hornets
|Kelly Oubre Jr.||38||74||22||110||23.7%||115||16.5||-11|