The Washington Wizards took on the Detroit Pistons — one of the NBA’s two worst teams — and squeaked out a home win. For the Wizards, the victory kinda-sorta lets them keep hoping they can scrap back into a play-in game. For the Pistons, it lets them keep hoping for a high draft pick to pair with Cade Cunningham.
Washington was led by Raul Neto and Tomas Satoransky, neither of whom will be in high demand to return to the team next season. Next most productive was Thomas Bryant, who’s on an expiring contract and might not be back. Then came Daniel Gafford (young and under contract) and Ish Smith, who will probably latch on somewhere for another year at the minimum.
Their trio of first round picks from the past three seasons weren’t much good when they were on the floor, though Deni Avdija was limited to just 9 minutes after suffering a quad contusion.
Rui Hachimura’s performance was downright infuriating at times. He was 3-3 from three-point range, but he still seems remarkably unaware of what’s happening on the floor. He grabbed 1 rebound for a fourth straight game. To go with his 1 rebound, Hachimura had 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks and 3 fouls in 21 minutes.
And his effort was absent when it came to things like getting back on defense. One play jumps to mind: he got his shot blocked, and instead of sprinting back to defend against Detroit’s fast break, he jogged back so slowly he hadn’t reached the free throw line before the Pistons were attempting a layup.
While a number of fans are pushing for him to get more playing time, it’s difficult for a coach to justify when his only contribution is taking shots — especially when half his shots are non-paint twos, and he’s connecting on just 30% of them.
For the Pistons, Saddiq Bey showed some impressive skills, and Cunningham made some dazzling plays. Killian Hayes had a rare good game — he’s been basically replacement level this season.
Something to keep in mind: both teams are bad defensively (Wizards ranked 24th entering the game, the Pistons 25th), and both were worse than their norm.
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: Pistons 113 at Wizards 116
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: Pistons