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The Numbers Crunch: Murphy and Ingram too much for the Wizards

Stats, analysis, commentary.

New Orleans Pelicans v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma shoots over New Orleans Pelicans big Jonas Valanciunas.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Wizards sprinted to a 15-point lead in the first quarter, which they promptly gave back — and more — in the second quarter. They wound up losing by 20 to a New Orleans Pelicans team missing Zion Williamson, its best player.

Washington’s defense failed catastrophically in the second quarter. The Pelicans shot 17-24 in the period, including 9-11 from three-point range, to score a whopping 47 points in the period. The Wizards’ offense wasn’t bad — they scored 34 points on 11-21 shooting (5-10 from deep) — but they still got stomped Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans.

One of the subplots I watched involved Corey Kispert, the 15th pick in the 2021 draft, and Trey Murphy III, the 17th pick. Many fans thought Murphy should have been Washington’s choice at 15 (mine would have been Alperen Sengun).

If the choice was between only Kispert and Murphy, the fans had it right. Kispert is an excellent shooter who has little effect in other areas of the game. Murphy is longer, more athletic, a good defender, and a terrific shooter and finisher. He’s one of the very few players who could plausibly be expected to win the NBA Dunk Contest and the Three-Point Shootout on the same night. (The NBA should let him try.)

Last night, Kispert had a very Kispert game — 12 points on 4-7 shooting and 3-6 from three, 3 rebounds, zero assists or steals, a block, a turnover, and a couple fouls. Murphy’s line: 27 points on 7-10 shooting, 6-7 from three, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, zero turnovers or fouls. For those who may have lost count, that’s a 209 offensive rating (points produced per possession used x 100).

Oh, did I mention the Wizards were -35 on the scoreboard with Kispert in the game, and that the Pelicans were +43 with Murphy on the floor? The Wizards were -35 on the scoreboard with Kispert in the game, and that the Pelicans were +43 with Murphy on the floor.

Musings & Observations

  • Kyle Kuzma had a good game in the loss — 27 points on 19 shots to go with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and just 1 turnover. There’s not much more he could have done in this one.
  • Deni Avdija was solid — and efficient 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. He had three first quarter stops on Herb Jones in transition.
  • Bilal Coulibaly led the team in minutes and made shots — 6-9 from the floor and 4-6 from three. A couple of those three-point makes were in garbage time, and he airballed a garbage time three, as well. He had a couple rookie turnovers, and he bricked a couple free throws, but it was a productive outing for him despite the team being -30 with him in the game.
  • Daniel Gafford returned from his bout of MVPitis hip injury and got overwhelmed inside by Jonas Valanciunas. The New Orleans big had 16 points and 18 rebounds and probably could have gotten to a 20-20 if the game had been closer and he’d played the last few minutes.
  • Jordan Poole continues to be a major problem for the Wizards. His overall production registered a negative score (again) in my PPA metric. Last night in 32 minutes: 11 points on 5-12 shooting (1-5 from three), 1 rebound, 4 assists, 2 steals, a block and 5 turnovers.
  • In a game where the Wizards effective field goal percentage was 62.8%, and the Pelicans was 60.4%, Poole’s efg was 45.8%. The average offensive rating in the game was 126. Poole’s ortg: 68.

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: Pelicans at Wizards

FOUR FACTORS PELICANS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS PELICANS WIZARDS
EFG 0.604 0.628
OREB 10 3
TOV 9 15
FTM 26 19
PACE 105
ORTG 136 117

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 30 64 124 30.9% 1.9 232 22.5 -6
Deni Avdija 30 65 127 20.2% 1.6 130 12.6 -4
Bilal Coulibaly 32 69 124 16.2% 1.1 108 11.3 -30
Daniel Gafford 24 52 141 16.2% 2.2 128 10.0 -4
Jared Butler 13 29 146 22.9% 2.0 183 7.9 -4
Corey Kispert 21 46 124 17.1% 0.7 84 5.8 -35
Tyus Jones 26 57 102 12.6% -0.9 63 5.4 1
Danilo Gallinari 16 34 107 24.5% -0.6 50 2.6 -20
Anthony Gill 10 21 130 10.4% 0.3 32 1.0 -4
Patrick Baldwin Jr. 4 9 249 23.1% 2.8 381 0.0 8
Jordan Poole 31 69 68 24.2% -7.8 -8 0.0 -10
Mike Muscala 4 9 0 18.3% -1.9 -125 0.0 8

Stats & Metrics: Pelicans

PELICANS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
PELICANS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Trey Murphy III 33 71 209 17.0% 11.5 456 49.0 43
Brandon Ingram 31 67 147 37.0% 8.0 302 30.5 12
Naji Marshall 28 60 145 19.9% 3.6 283 25.7 37
CJ McCollum 32 70 165 18.4% 6.5 184 19.5 13
Jonas Valanciunas 33 72 120 19.8% 0.7 134 14.5 13
Jose Alvarado 18 40 116 13.6% 0.1 122 7.4 15
Dyson Daniels 16 34 73 16.0% -2.3 68 3.5 -17
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 2 5 139 37.9% 0.5 442 0.0 -2
Cody Zeller 5 11 222 11.1% 1.4 139 0.0 -4
Herbert Jones 20 43 71 19.2% -3.7 -12 0.0 -17
Kira Lewis Jr. 4 8 0 9.6% -0.9 -80 0.0 -8
Jordan Hawkins 19 41 48 14.0% -3.8 -76 0.0 15