The Wizards collectively mouthed all the right platitudes about trying to make the play-in this season, but the competitive portion of their season is over. For a tank game — of course a Ted Leonsis-owned team would never tank — their 123-110 loss to the Sacramento Kings was just about right.
Kyle Kuzma played well. So did Corey Kispert and Thomas Bryant. Rui Hachimura was decent. Ish Smith came back to town, played great and swiped Chris Miller’s microphone cover during a halftime interview on NBC Washington.
The defense was catastrophically bad, which will give the coaching staff ample teaching opportunities. Sacramento’s efg was .645 — their second highest mark of the season. Their 130 offensive rating (points per possession x 100) was their fourth best game of the year. For Washington, it was their second worst defg, and their absolute worst defensive rating of the season.
The newly acquired Kristaps Porzingis watched from the sideline as he continues to recover from a bone bruise in his knee. Overall, the team’s moves at the trade deadline were good. Everyone traded was someone who wanted a new NBA home.
In the Porzingis deal, they sent out Davis Bertans — who was giving them nothing — and Spencer Dinwiddie, who was miserable and miscast as a Robin to Bradley Beal’s Batman. Truth is Sheppard and the Wizards overrated him.
Sheppard was faced with a choice of losing with guys like Dinwiddie, Bertans, Montrezl Harrell, and Aaron Holiday because none of those players has the ability to lift a team. At their best, they’re role players. All of them are at their best coming off the bench.
In exchange for Dinwiddie and Bertans, the Wizards got Porzingis, who has been good to very-good when he’s been healthy enough to play. If he stays healthy and plays as he has previously, the team could “contend” for sixth in the East. If he’s hurt, and they don’t get much from him, they’ll lose and get lottery picks.
At the deadline, Sheppard and the Wizards accomplished the goal of moving players who wanted out. In the process, he injected some variability into the team’s future over the next 2-3 seasons. The range of outcomes for them is now wider — both high and low — and that’s a good thing.
Odds are, they’ll muddle along in the 8-12 range, but they could get higher if Porzingis is healthy and good, and they get some good fortune in the draft lottery. Or, they could be even worse than expected if Porzingis misses extended stretches or doesn’t play well.
Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses 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: Kings 123 at Wizards 110
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 in this game. 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 112.3. 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: Kings