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The Numbers Crunch: 76ers blast overmatched Wizards

Stats, analysis, commentary.

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma.
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Welp, that ended quickly. The Wizards opened the game giving the Philadelphia 76ers open looks from three- point range, which the Sixers knocked down. Just two minutes into the contest, Philly was up 14-0. From there, things got worse for Washington.

The Wizards tried some new defensive and lineup wrinkles. They were in their “Blue” coverage to open the game, which was a man defense that doubled Embiid anytime he got the ball. As mentioned in the last episode of the #SoWizards podcast, the help was coming from one pass away, which made Embiid’s reads easy. And it left shooters open from three.

They went to a kind 2-1-2 zone next — basically a 2-3 but trying to keep a defender on Embiid at the free throw line to make the entry pass more challenging. The Sixers shredded that scheme too.

The Wizards broke out a 2-2-1 full-court press for a few possessions. Those turned into fastbreaks for Philly.

In the third quarter, they went with a mix of zone and blue, and Embiid played exactly like a guy trying to get his numbers before his shift ended because he for sure wasn’t going to play in the fourth quarter. Both things came to pass: Embiid got his number (34 points), and he sat for the final period.

Wes Unseld Jr. continued to give Jared Butler backup guard minutes, and he was solid. With Daniel Gafford sidelined with a hip injury (Sixers broadcaster Alaa Abdelnaby diagnosed the malady as “MVPitis”), Patrick Baldwin Jr. got some genuine minutes. He didn’t get much accomplished until fourth quarter garbage time.

Garbage time hero Eugene Omoruyi got some first half minutes too, but he didn’t return to the game after getting hit in the face.

Overall, the game called to mind the words attributed to John McKay, first coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when a reporter asked what he thought of his team’s execution. McKay’s reply: “I’m in favor of it.”

Musings & Observations

  • Give Kyle Kuzma some credit just for being willing to compete. The team was getting its butt kicked, and it was clear that the game was essentially over after the first two minutes. But, he still attacked the rim, got a few baskets and gave the Wizards the semblance of an offense. Then Embiid and the Sixers got a little more serious about contesting him at the rim, and he had trouble converting. He took just three shots outside the paint, and seven of his 17 field goal attempts were inside the restricted area. He made just three.
  • Butler looked maybe credible as a backup guard.
  • Baldwin made a couple threes and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes. That might have been his best game in the NBA.
  • Bilal Coulibaly had the kind of all over the place game I’ve wanted to see. He shot just 4 of 11 from the floor and 2-7 from three, but he was attacking off the bounce, he punished Embiid’s roaming with a corner three, and he hit a pullup jumper from the left elbow. He also had 8 rebounds (including 3 on the offensive end), 4 assists, a steal, a block and 3 turnovers. Of the turnovers, two were the kind of rookie mistake plays he needs to make now so he can learn not to make them later, and the other was a simple miscommunication — he thought Kuzma would cut to the basket, and Kuzma stopped at the three-point line.
  • Coulibaly had 22.5% usage — a new career high.
  • Not a good game from Deni Avidja — 9 points on 3-8 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 turnovers.
  • Jordan Poole maintained his position as the team’s most consistent player. Unfortunately, he’s been consistently bad. Last night was no different — 3-11 from the floor with 3 turnovers, zero rebounds, and 3 fouls. (I don’t actually know if he’s truly the most consistent player on the team — I haven’t run a production ekg for him or anyone else on the team. His PPA has been in the negative quite a lot so far this season.)
  • On 23.4% usage, Poole’s offensive rating was just 81. League average so far this season: 114.5.
  • Mike Muscala started in place of the injured Daniel Gafford and got rolled by Embiid.
  • Corey Kispert shot well enough, but had three turnovers and 4 fouls. On a 58.3% effective field goal percentage, his offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was just 87. That’s the kind of thing that happens when your turnover rate is 30%.

The 45-point loss lands in a three-way tie for the fourth worst defeat in franchise history. The worst was a 151-99 beating by the Milwaukee Bucks on January 10, 1971. Key players on that Bucks team would go on to win the championship that season led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, and Bob Dandridge.

Second worst: a 116-69 drubbing on December 4, 2017 at the Utah Jazz. The Jazz were pretty good (48-win team that season). Key players were Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles.

The third worst blowout came in 1970 at the Boston Celtics — 153-107 was the final. This was a post-dynasty team coached by Tommy Heinsohn and led by a 30-year-old John Havlicek, a 22-year-old Dave Cowens, and a 24-year-old Jo Jo White. The Celtics actually missed the playoffs that season.

Note: two of those three worst drubbings were in the same 1970-71 season. That Baltimore Bullets team won the Central Division with a 42-40 record, beat the 76ers 4-3 in the first round, got past the New York Knicks 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals, and then got swept by the Bucks in the Finals. The core rotation: Wes Unseld, Gus Johnson, Jack Marin, Earl Monroe, Kevin Loughery, Eddie Miles, Fred Carter, and John Tresvant.

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).

Four Factors: Wizards at 76ers

FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS 76ERS
FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS 76ERS
EFG 0.476 0.653
OREB 13 9
TOV 22 13
FTM 20 22
PACE 107
ORTG 94 136

Stats & Metrics

Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score. 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. 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 sometimes producing weird results.

POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.

ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average last season was 114.8. 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.

+PTS = “Plus Points” is a measure of the points gained or lost by each player based on their efficiency in this game compared to league average efficiency on the same number of possessions. A player with an offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) of 100 who uses 20 possessions would produce 20 points. If the league average efficiency is 114, the league — on average — would produced 22.8 points in the same 20 possessions. So, the player in this hypothetical would have a +PTS score of -2.8.

Stats & Metrics: Wizards

WIZARDS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
WIZARDS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Kyle Kuzma 27 61 105 27.9% -1.7 108 12.1 -28
Jared Butler 19 43 139 19.9% 2.1 144 11.3 -15
Patrick Baldwin Jr. 17 38 178 12.7% 3.1 157 10.9 -10
Bilal Coulibaly 31 69 95 22.5% -3.0 77 9.8 -33
Tyus Jones 21 47 90 20.1% -2.3 73 6.2 -17
Deni Avdija 26 58 93 19.2% -2.4 53 5.6 -31
Anthony Gill 10 23 67 19.8% -2.2 -31 0.0 2
Eugene Omoruyi 2 5 0 16.2% -0.8 -312 0.0 -4
Danilo Gallinari 11 24 71 12.0% -1.3 -69 0.0 -8
Jordan Poole 26 58 81 23.4% -4.5 -36 0.0 -30
Corey Kispert 23 51 87 18.9% -2.7 -41 0.0 -21
Mike Muscala 20 45 50 10.7% -3.1 -49 0.0 -25
Jules Bernard 6 14 50 30.5% -2.7 -167 0.0 -5

Stats & Metrics: 76ers

76ERS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
76ERS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Tyrese Maxey 25 55 157 26.4% 6.2 314 31.8 26
Joel Embiid 30 66 121 38.4% 1.6 260 31.5 30
Marcus Morris Sr. 12 27 206 17.6% 4.3 414 20.4 24
Patrick Beverly 11 26 199 22.3% 4.8 426 20.0 22
Tobias Harris 30 66 161 12.0% 3.7 162 19.6 21
Robert Covington 14 31 215 10.9% 3.4 333 18.9 18
Paul Reed 13 28 192 11.4% 2.5 214 11.0 12
Nicolas Batum 20 46 91 8.7% -0.9 95 8.0 12
Kelly Oubre Jr. 18 39 101 16.6% -0.9 98 7.1 23
De'Anthony Melton 27 60 64 19.8% -5.9 44 4.8 17
Danuel House Jr. 9 21 207 20.1% 3.8 378 0.0 4
Mo Bamba 8 17 124 38.3% 0.6 281 0.0 5
Furkan Korkmaz 9 21 139 11.7% 0.6 88 0.0 4
KJ Martin 6 13 214 7.8% 1.0 140 0.0 3
Jaden Springer 9 21 91 27.4% -1.4 15 0.0 4