The Wizards may have beaten the Phoenix Suns for their first win of the 2022 summer league, but they once again lost the all-important name game. Arturs Zagars saved from a blowout all-name defeat because Phoenix rolled in with the likes of future President of the United States McKinley Wright IV, as well as Karim Jallow, Olivier Sarr, Dejan Vasiljevic, Duop Reath, Leonardo Meindl, Louis King and Vrenz Bleijenbergh.
Pat Spencer? Tyler Hall? Johnny Davis? Seriously Tommy?!
In actual on-court action, the Wizards rode a dominating performance from Vernon Carey Jr. (15 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes) and superb shooting from Tyler Hall, Quenton Jackson and Craig Sword (a combined 10-11 from the floor) to blast the Phoenix Suns summer squad, 97-72.
The Suns played badly across the board. The only Phoenix player with at least 10 minutes of playing time and an above average PPA was the spectacularly named Brancou Badio, who scored four points in 10 minutes and managed an assist.
For the Wizards, on the positive side of the ledger is Carey’s excellent game, as well as solid play from Craig Sword and Jaime Echenique, who could develop into “break glass in case of emergency” G-Leaguers.
On the...well...not positive side of the ledger, Johnny Davis, Jordan Schakel and Isaiah Todd — the four prospects the Wizards would like to develop into actual NBA players — all played poorly.
Davis shot just 4-11 from the floor and had little non-scoring production. It’s too early to get worried, but I don’t like how much difficulty he seems to have getting into easy shots. The (not so) secret of NBA success isn’t the ability to make hard shots, it’s the ability to use athleticism and skill to get easy shots.
I was baffled by the 2021 draft day trade that sent a first-round pick to the Indiana Pacers for Aaron Holiday and the second round pick they used to select Todd. In my analysis, Todd had been unproductive with the G-League Ignite. He was significantly worse last season with the Capital City Go-Go.
The Theory of Todd is that he can become a stretch-four or 3&D type at either forward spot. The reality is that he’s not an elite athlete, he doesn’t shoot well, and he doesn’t compensate for either with a high motor or non-scoring production. The Wizards came to Las Vegas planning to “feature” him. Last night, he shot 1-4 in 21 minutes (second highest on the team) and managed just 4 rebounds and a block. In 47 minutes of summer league play, he has yet to tally an assist.
As for Schakel, he’s a helluva shooter who needs to make shots to generate value, in part because he doesn’t produce much of anything else. Last night: 2-8 from the floor (2-5 from three) and just 1 rebound in 16 minutes. He posted zeroes for assists, steals and blocks.
The Wizards don’t play again until Wednesday, which gives Tommy Sheppard time to upgrade the roster with some better names.
The Four Factors
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.
Note: The pace listed below is possessions per 48 minutes even though for some reason that makes sense to someone, summer league games are 40 minutes. I opted not to change it in my spreadsheet for two reasons:
- The games are being played mostly under NBA rules and a pace factor of 80 (possessions per 40 minutes) provides no useful information in an NBA context. And,
- I can definitely see myself forgetting to switch back to 240 minutes when the real games start and getting confused by the weird numbers. What can I say, except that I’m getting old?
Four Factors: Wizards 97 vs. Suns 72
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. 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 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
|Vernon Carey Jr.||19||38||15||149||27.1%||243||24.0||9|
Key Stat: Suns
|McKinley Wright IV||19||38||6||118||14.8%||66||6.5||-9|
|Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.||7||15||6||91||32.0%||115||4.4||1|