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The Numbers Crunch: Nets own the middle against listless Wizards

Stats, analysis, commentary.

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets
Washington Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly played well in the team’s dispiriting loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

If Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers was something of a moral victory, last night’s debacle against the Brooklyn Nets was an immoral defeat.

The Nets kept things close by missing an array of open threes during the first half. They remembered how to shoot in the third quarter and turned the game into a genuine stomping.

This was a dispiriting beatdown, in part because the Wizards seemed so content to take it. The team’s “stars” did little aside from take shots and commit turnovers.

On the bright side, Bilal Coulibaly was active on offense with aggressive drives and nice finishes. He took a couple pull-up jumpers (making one), and looked smooth and confident doing it. He also had 10 rebounds — a new career high — and stood out by working on defense.

After the five-point loss to Philadelphia, Washington’s forecasted final win total rose by half a win, according to my prediction machine. All of that gain, and more, was wiped away with last night’s debacle.

Musings & Observations

  • Deni Avdija’s statline was better than the experience of watching him on the offensive. That’s probably because the missed threes were really bad misses (the airballed stepback three was cringey). Overall though, he was efficient (6-9 from the floor, 4 assists and zero turnovers), he got 7 rebounds, and he was one of the few players who gave a genuine effort on defense.
  • The Wizards used 10 players outside of garbage time. Six of them scored a zero or lower in my PPA metric. In PPA, an average score is 100.
  • Washington’s team PPA for the game: 37. In PPA, replacement level is 45.
  • Kyle Kuzma had a terrible game, and I’m not talking about missed shots. In 30 minutes of action, the 6-10 forward had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 turnovers. He had no steals or blocks. The team defense was staggeringly awful when he was in the game. That’s not blaming him exclusively for the poor defense, it’s an acknowledgement that he was of no help.
  • Jordan Poole had yet another egregious game. His offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was just 81 — an efficiency level that would be bad in any era of NBA basketball. In this league environment, it’s incredibly destructive to the team’s offense. He was more than 30 points per 100 possessions below league average, and 15 points below the team’s horrible offensive output last night.
  • Poole did nothing to help in other areas — 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in 24 minutes. His turnover rate was an eye-popping 27%. In other words, 27% of his possessions last night ended in a turnover.
  • Poole’s lack of effort should be a major concern for the coaching staff. Last night, while two Nets players hustled to chase down a loose ball bouncing in Poole’s vicinity, he stood and watched instead of entering the fray. Getting the ball was no guarantee, but he was closer than either Brooklyn player. That’s probably a 60/40 ball in his favor. Instead, it was a long rebound turned into a fast break layup at the other end. Because, of course, he didn’t sprint back on defense either.
  • Corey Kispert missed shots — 3-11 from the floor, and 1-7 from deep.
  • Brooklyn finished the game with a 122 offensive rating despite shooting 30.3% from three. They were efficient despite the bad shooting because of 18 offensive rebounds — an offensive rebounding percentage of 38.3%. They pummeled Washington with 76 points in the paint, 20 second chance points, and 22 fastbreak points.

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 Nets

FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS NETS
FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS NETS
EFG 0.451 0.529
OREB 12 18
TOV 15 9
FTM 15 14
PACE 101
ORTG 96 122

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 +/-
Deni Avdija 27 58 158 15.8% 4.0 251 28.6 -6
Tyus Jones 28 59 128 17.3% 1.3 124 14.4 -20
Bilal Coulibaly 25 54 128 18.3% 1.4 119 12.6 -22
Mike Muscala 15 32 160 13.0% 1.9 137 8.7 -4
Anthony Gill 4 8 90 45.4% -0.9 60 0.0 -2
Patrick Baldwin Jr. 4 8 45 33.3% -1.9 38 0.0 -2
Daniel Gafford 22 46 75 14.6% -2.6 0 0.0 -23
Kyle Kuzma 30 64 86 26.8% -4.8 0 0.0 -23
Jules Bernard 4 8 62 12.1% -0.5 -39 0.0 -2
Eugene Omoruyi 4 8 86 35.7% -0.8 -77 0.0 -2
Corey Kispert 21 44 75 20.1% -3.5 -27 0.0 -11
Jordan Poole 24 50 81 19.5% -3.3 -57 0.0 -16
Danilo Gallinari 19 39 52 17.8% -4.4 -91 0.0 1
Jared Butler 14 29 59 27.2% -4.3 -125 0.0 -3

Stats & Metrics: Nets

NETS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
NETS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Royce O'Neale 26 56 152 17.3% 3.6 283 32.4 11
Mikal Bridges 30 64 132 21.7% 2.4 243 32.2 24
Nic Claxton 26 56 147 15.2% 2.7 244 28.0 15
Day'Ron Sharpe 20 41 133 31.0% 2.3 258 21.9 11
Spencer Dinwiddie 33 70 107 21.6% -1.1 140 20.3 19
Dorian Finney-Smith 26 55 152 9.7% 2.0 160 18.1 12
Trendon Watford 19 40 145 14.2% 1.8 91 7.6 13
Cam Thomas 29 62 89 27.8% -4.3 11 1.4 14
Harry Giles III 5 10 128 53.5% 0.8 430 0.0 2
Cameron Johnson 25 52 91 13.6% -1.7 0 0.0 14