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Wizards losing streak reaches four with loss to Bulls

Analysis and stats from Washington’s latest defeat.

Washington Wizards v Chicago Bulls
Wizards forward Deni Avdija dunks on the Chicago Bulls.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

As befit two struggling teams, neither the Chicago Bulls or Washington Wizards could summon the stuff necessary to play good basketball. The Bulls performed a bit less poorly and won to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Wizards have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight.

According to my PPA metric, five players were average or better last night — three for the Bulls and two for the Wizards.

The team, and its friends in the media, are doing their best to promote The New Big Three of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported yesterday that the Wizards would prefer not to trade Kuzma because they view him as a “cornerstone” of the franchise’s future.

With Beal sidelined because of a hamstring injury, The Big Three remainders went down with a flurry of missed shots, sloppy turnovers and poor defense. Porzingis missed all six of three-point attempts and committed five turnovers en route to 28 points and 9 rebounds. His offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was an anemic 103 with a sky-high 36.0% usage rate.

Once again, the opposition’s center — in this case Nikola Vucevic — dominated. Vucevic finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 10-16 from the floor and 3-5 from long range. His offensive rate: 141 on a 20.4% usage rate.

Kuzma was 8-18 from the floor (2-5 from three) and had just 5 rebounds and 1 assist in 38 minutes.

For those keeping score at home, Porzingis and Kuzma were a combined 16-35 from the floor, 2-11 from three, and produced 5 assists and 8 turnovers. Altogether, that’s an offensive rating of 97. League average is 112.7. Chicago’s average for the game: 107.

Here’s their shot chart for the game:

Combined shot chart for Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. The two made threes were from Kuzma.

Enough about failure. Washington’s best players for the night were Deni Avdija and Daniel Gafford. Avdija had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and zero turnovers. Matched frequently against Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, Avdija defended well and avoided fouling — just two fouls in 39 minutes.

The team defense wasn’t much good with Avdija on the floor, but he had a solid game on that end, helping harass DeRozan into 11-21 shooting and 5 turnovers. On the offensive end, Avdija got all his field goals at-rim, drove several times, and found open teammates for shots. Here’s his shot chart:

Deni Avdija shot chart.

Gafford once again gave the team a burst of energy and athleticism. The defense was radically better with him out there, and the team had success once again with him and Porzingis on the floor. For a few minutes, Wes Unseld Jr. went with a true BIG Three with Kuzma joining Porzingis and Gafford in the front court. Then he went even bigger (briefly) by using Taj Gibson with Porzingis and Gafford on a Chicago free throw attempt in the final seconds.

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 Bulls

EFG 0.542 0.556
OREB 6 6
TOV 18 19
FTM 20 15
PACE 108
ORTG 103 107

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

Deni Avdija 39 87 10 133 11.1% 154 26.9 -9
Monte Morris 37 84 17 116 19.4% 89 15.0 -7
Daniel Gafford 18 39 10 128 17.9% 172 13.6 12
Kristaps Porzingis 35 78 28 103 36.0% 80 12.4 -14
Kyle Kuzma 38 85 21 91 23.3% 64 10.9 -12
Corey Kispert 30 68 10 101 13.5% 74 10.0 -13
Will Barton 18 41 6 78 17.0% 48 3.9 10
Jordan Goodwin 13 28 4 69 22.7% 63 3.5 2
Taj Gibson 10 23 5 97 20.6% 65 3.0 8
Anthony Gill 3 6 0 0.0% 57 0.7 3

Stats & Metrics: Bulls

Nikola Vucevic 36 80 25 141 20.4% 251 40.2 11
Alex Caruso 32 72 5 139 9.8% 184 26.7 17
Zach LaVine 34 77 25 97 31.8% 141 21.8 14
DeMar DeRozan 37 84 27 96 30.6% 61 10.2 5
Patrick Williams 30 67 11 124 11.7% 65 8.8 5
Ayo Dosunmu 20 45 8 124 14.4% 81 7.2 -14
Coby White 17 39 6 105 12.1% 93 7.2 4
Derrick Jones Jr. 14 32 2 76 11.5% 61 3.9 -6
Goran Dragic 11 25 2 64 25.5% -67 0.0 -9
Andre Drummond 8 19 4 79 29.0% -103 0.0 -7