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Wizards dump Knicks in Beal’s return from injury

Stats, analysis and commentary

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

After missing eight of the team’s last nine games, Bradley Beal returned to the lineup and led the Wizards to a road win against the New York Knicks.

Beal turned in a stellar performance and got abundant help from starters, the bench, and the Madison Square Garden Bricklayers and Allied Craftworks. The whole game felt like one of those games where the opponent misses open shots for three quarters but stays close enough to heat up and steal a win. Not last night, though. The Knicks kept firing blanks, and the Wizards coasted home with an 11-point win.

Good Stuff

  • Beal came back with 18 points on 11 field goal attempts, as well as 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and just 2 turnovers.
  • Monte Morris hit shots, hit the boards, and hit teammates with assists. He ended the night with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and his usual zero turnovers.
  • Kyle Kuzma’s overall efficiency was a bit below average (109 in a game where the team’s offensive rating was 121), but his defense was decent, he grabbed some rebounds, and he had 7 assists to 4 turnovers.
  • Delon Wright had 2 steals and 2 blocks in 22 minutes. Among players with at least 300 total minutes, Wright leads the NBA with 4.9 steals per 100 team possessions. He’s third in steals per game despite playing only about 20 minutes per game. The two guys ahead of him: OG Anunoby (36.9 minutes per game) and Jimmy Butler (34.4 mpg).
  • Deni Avdija played well. His shooting percentage got lowered a bit with some missed tip-in opportunities in the fourth quarter, but throughout the night, he played with the right mix of aggression and patience.

Not So Good Stuff

  • Rui Hachimura’s name appeared in pregame rumors of trade talks and then shot 0-7 from the floor, including 0-6 from three-point range. As I’ve written before, Hachimura’s contributions are almost exclusively based on whether or not he makes shots. Last night was no exception — just 1 rebound and 1 assist in 20 minutes. He also committed a turnovers and 3 fouls.

Other Stuff

  • I’ve been trying, but outside carefully selected highlights, I don’t see what’s so wonderful about RJ Barrett. He’d be on my All-Overrated team.
  • A friend told me Drew Gooden was doing a better job lately, so I switched to the Wizards broadcast for the second half to hear for myself. And, my friend was right! Gooden still comes off as a doofus, but he also dropped in that the team had run a double drag (two consecutive ball screens set by different screeners — this often is done in semi-transition because it’s a good way to incorporate trailers and quickly initiate a half court set).
  • On the other hand, Chris Miller needs a basketball tutor. Here’s a partial list of stuff for him to learn: the difference between an up-and-under and a reverse layup and a Euro step vs. a step through. He also needs to know what the parts of the floor are called. Like: free throw line, free throw line extended, elbow, corner, wing. Like, the break in the three-point line is not the corner. Taking a jump shot from the free throw line isn’t “free throw line extended.” The elbow isn’t “mid post.” Views may vary, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that a professional basketball announcer be able to correctly identify spots on the floor and common basketball moves.

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 often find the raw numbers more useful when analyzing a single game.

Four Factors: Wizards at Knicks

EFG 0.526 0.453
OREB 18 20
TOV 13 9
FTM 16 18
ORTG 121 109

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

Bradley Beal 29 57 18 142 20.6% 244 26.5 11
Monte Morris 31 62 13 160 13.8% 223 25.9 17
Kyle Kuzma 36 73 27 109 32.7% 186 25.6 20
Delon Wright 22 44 11 133 21.6% 265 22.0 2
Deni Avdija 29 58 14 141 15.3% 172 18.9 -11
Kristaps Porzingis 33 66 22 122 29.3% 129 16.1 8
Corey Kispert 15 30 5 197 8.2% 139 7.8 -4
Daniel Gafford 17 35 6 102 13.9% 76 5.0 18
Taj Gibson 9 17 0 65 5.4% -68 0.0 0
Rui Hachimura 20 39 0 10 15.2% -299 0.0 -6

Stats & Metrics: Knicks

Jalen Brunson 38 76 32 131 29.7% 178 25.5 -12
Quentin Grimes 31 63 14 129 14.9% 118 14.0 -12
Immanuel Quickley 32 64 18 127 19.0% 100 12.0 9
Julius Randle 34 68 14 96 27.4% 52 6.7 -11
Mitchell Robinson 9 18 0 57 11.9% 145 5.0 -12
Jericho Sims 21 42 2 168 5.7% 37 2.9 4
Obi Toppin 14 28 0 65 3.4% 53 2.8 0
Miles McBride 11 21 0 65 9.0% 65 2.6 1
Isaiah Hartenstein 13 26 4 98 19.3% 37 1.8 -7
RJ Barrett 38 75 21 87 27.9% -7 0.0 -15