Didn’t we just see this game?
Wizards spring to a 20+ point lead in the first half? Check.
Wizards lollygag through the second half and let the opposing team mount a comeback? Check.
Wizards fail to defend the perimeter and get blown up by guards? Check and check.
That murmuring sound you’re hearing from the north isn’t a polar vortex, it’s team president Tommy Sheppard reciting the cliches about injuries to Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma undercut the team’s ability to compete. Never mind that the Nets were without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and T.J. Warren, and suffered in-game injuries to Seth Curry and Markieff Morris.
Only the Wizards are affected by injuries. Them’s the rules.
On the bright side, it was entertaining watching Brooklyn guard Cam Thomas play the best game of his young career, and seeing the nine lead changes in the final three minutes.
- Deni Avdija played a solid game with some stints of good offense and defense. He shot 4-9 from three-point range and had 4 steals.
- Monte Morris was aggressive offensively in the fourth quarter, especially after Kristaps Porzingis fouled out, and it was nearly enough to eke out a win. He managed not to dribble the ball off his foot in the closing seconds, though he did miss a couple free throws that could have tied the game with 7 seconds left.
- Porzingis exploited his size advantage to the tune of 38 points. He hit from inside and out (4-5 from three-point range), and hit 12-13 from the free throw line. He also got stymied on a few late-game possessions by Nic Claxton, and he fouled out with just over two minutes to play. The Wizards couldn’t survive offensively without him; they couldn’t survive defensively with him and his five fouls.
- Corey Kispert made shots again — 3-5 from deep.
- Jordan Goodwin was terrific in his scant 13 minutes of playing time.
Not So Good Stuff
- Avdija was largely missing in action in his 11:55 of playing time in the fourth quarter. He was 1-3 from the floor with 1 rebound, an assist, a turnover and a foul. On one play, he dribbled around as if preparing to attack, and then flipped the ball to Daniel Gafford, who was 28 feet from the basket and had just 7 seconds on the shot clock. That’s a no-no — as the player with perimeter skills, it was incumbent on Avdija to make something happen for the team. That’s something the coaching staff will surely address in film session.
- Kyle Kuzma was off to a bad start before he sprained his ankle and had to leave the game. He was 0-6 from the floor, though he did have 5 assists to 1 turnover. One possible reason for his persistently poor efficiency: he takes difficult shots, often without needing to.
- Kendrick Nunn played poorly — 1-4 from the floor, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. They need him to play much better whether they imagine he can be part of the backcourt rotation this season or they think they’re showcasing him for a trade.
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 Nets
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.
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.
+PTS = Tentatively dubbed “plus points,” this stat 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.
Note: I dropped points scored from the table because a) it’s easily available just about everywhere, and b) there’s a limit to the number of columns I could use in the tables.
Stats & Metrics: Wizards
Stats & Metrics: Nets