If there’s any lesson to be taken from last night’s Wizards loss to the Indiana Pacers, it might be this: don’t draft for perceived need.
Tyrese Haliburton, recently acquired by the Pacers, had a crappy shooting night and committed four turnovers. He also showcased elite court vision and passing ability, as well as the exuberant leadership that makes teammates love playing with him. The Wizards may not have “needed” a guard in the 2020 draft, but they sure could use one in 2022.
By the way, I’m not alleging a conspiracy, but the Pacers have been making roster moves that seemed designed to tempt me away from following the Wizards. Haliburton is my favorite NBA player. I like his attitude, game, leadership and zeal for engaging with the community.
They also signed one of my other favorites: Terry Taylor, the 6-5 whatever the hell position he plays, who practically jumped off the screen when I was evaluating G League numbers earlier this season. Last night, he scored 18 points on 9-11 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds, and it was basically a par for the course performance for him.
In addition to the 18 and 9 tonight, he has games of 15 and 8 (with 5 offensive rebounds) in 21 minutes, 24 and 16 with 6 offensive boards (as a 6-5 starting center), and 21, 14 and 5 (with 8 offensive rebounds). This kind of performance would make him Washington’s most productive player.
Anyway, the Wizards were terrible on defense (again) and basically average on offense. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made threes (5-8) and got 3 steals. Raul Neto hit a couple threes and handed out 8 assists, and Kyle Kuzma had an inefficient 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Kuzma shot just 9-27 from the floor and committed three turnovers. His 6 made threes brought his shooting to a 44.4% efg. League average is 52.6%. The Wizards shot 52.2% for the game.
Tonight, the Wizards have a makeup game against the Brooklyn Nets that was postponed because so many players were in the Covid protocols. My prediction machine gives the Wizards about a 40% chance of winning. The Nets suffered through an 11-game losing streak, but are now winners of two straight.
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: Wizards 108 at Pacers 113
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
Key Stats: Pacers
|Duane Washington Jr.||18||37||6||82||19.8%||-25||0.0||-1|