Turns out, having Giannis Antetokounmpo on the floor makes a big difference. When the Wizards took on the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, Milwaukee was missing Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. The Wizards won by 23.
Last night, Milwaukee got back Antetokounmpo and Holiday, and Antetokounmpo laid waste to the Wizards. The Bucks won by 10.
Antetokounmpo finished with a career high 55 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. It was very much a Greek Freak kind of night, replete with jaw-dropping dunks, preposterous “only Giannis” layups, and dizzying play in transition.
Antetokounmpo got big-time help from Brook Lopez, who scored 21 points on 10-13 shooting from the floor, grabbed 6 offensive rebounds, and had a steal and 6 blocks. Despite Washington’s two-bigs lineup, the Bucks scored 66 points in the paint and posted 21 second chance points.
Overall, the Wizards did not play badly in the loss. It had been a couple weeks since they faced a quality team with a mostly intact lineup, and they got overwhelmed by one of the all-time great players. They competed, made the game close in the 4th quarter, but just weren’t quite good enough to finish a tough and experienced opponent.
- Good StuffFor a while, it looked like Kristaps Porzingis might give Antetokounmpo a genuine battle. That didn’t develop, but Porzingis was still good — 22 points on 13 field goal attempts, plus 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He also had 3 turnovers and 5 fouls. The turnovers weren’t a big deal — the Wizards had just 10 on the night. The fouls were a result of Antetokounmpo’s aggressive style.
- Daniel Gafford had 11 points and 12 rebounds. While he struggled to keep Lopez off the offensive glass, Lopez had the same problem with Gafford, who finished with 5.
- Monte Morris came from the perimeter to help Gafford and Porzingis with defensive rebounding. Washington’s smallest player finished with the third most defensive rebounds (6). The 6-10 Kyle Kuzma had 3.
- Bradley Beal played well until he had to exit the lineup when he aggravated the same hamstring that had kept him sidelined. He had 8 points, 4 assists and 2 steals in 13 minutes.
- Delon Wright shot just 1-6 from the floor, but had another 3 steals.
Not So Good Stuff
- It’s hard to describe how destructive Kuzma was to Washington’s effort. He shot 10-28 from the floor — more than twice as many field goal attempts as any teammate. Only Antetokounmpo had more attempts, and he was putting up a career high 55. Kuzma was 0-6 from three, and managed just 4 rebounds and 2 assists to 2 turnovers. He used 32% of the team’s possessions when he was in the game with an offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) of just 70.
- Another stab at how Kuzma almost singlehandedly wrecked Washington’s offense. For the game, the Wizards had an effective field goal percentage of 47.4%. That’s bad. Take out Kuzma’s 10-28 shooting, and the rest of the team shot 52.2%. For the game, the full team shot 8-27 from three, which comes to 29.6%. Without Kuzma’s 0-6, the rest of the team shot 8-21 — an above average 38.1%.
- Last comment on Kuzma’s terrible night: As mentioned above, he had an offensive rating of 70 in a game where the entire team’s offensive rating for the game was 111. Back out Kuzma’s possessions, and the team offensive rating was 123. Milwaukee’s offensive rating for the game: 120. Those possessions used by teammates at that 123 ortg would have produced an additional 12-13 points. Washington lost by 10.
- Beal, who despite the online kvetching is the team’s best and most productive player, reinjured his left hamstring and will likely miss additional time. I’ve written many times that the team’s “build from the middle” around Beal strategy is foolish, in part because he’s not an elite player, is still very good. If the team hopes to achieve its goals, they’ll need a healthy Beal. Or another streak of insanely good injury and illness luck from upcoming opponents.
By the way, I’m thinking about adding the stat I describe above showing how individual efficiency affects the team as a whole. Let me know in the comments if you think it could be worthwhile. Also, help me come up with a better name than xPTS, which is what it’s currently labeled in my spreadsheet.
The idea for it comes from Kirk Goldsberry’s extra field points stat, which does something similar for shooting. With this xPTS stat, I estimate Porzingis using possessions instead of teammates added about 3 points. Gafford added almost 4 (3.8). No one else on the Wizards (aside from Kuzma) added or subtracted more than 1.8 points.
For Milwaukee, I estimate that Antetokounmpo added 8.4 points, Lopez 7.0 and Portis 3.9. Jrue Holiday cost them an estimated 6.6 points and Grayson Allen 4.7.
When I ran this using league average efficiency, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic came out at the top, adding an estimated 140+ points so far this season (there’s been a game or two since, so that number is likely higher now). Kuzma was 10th from the bottom at about -60. At the absolute bottom was Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook at more than -80.
This is NOT a total accounting of how players impacts score. It’s looking strictly at offensive efficiency, which includes scoring, assists, offensive rebounds, turnovers and shooting (from the floor and the free throw line).
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 Bucks
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
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Stats & Metrics: Bucks