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The Numbers Crunch: Wizards clip Hawks’ wings in blowout win

Stats, analysis, commentary.

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Mercedes Oliver/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards depart Atlanta with their seventh win of the season courtesy of the Hawks’ astonishingly bad shooting night and a favorable schedule.

For the Hawks, it was the second night of a back-to-back. They got pummeled by the Indiana Pacers the day before. The Wizards came into the game with two days rest. That difference showed, especially in the third quarter when the Hawks spiraled, and the Wizards put the game away.

Washington was far enough ahead after three that starters Kyle Kuzma, Jordan Poole, and Tyus Jones sat all of the final period. Starting center Daniel Gafford played just under three minutes. Deni Avdija — who was chasing his first career triple-double (he finished an assist short) — was the only Wizards starter to play significant minutes in the fourth.

The primary on-court cause of Washington’s runaway 127-99 win was Atlanta’s near total inability to make shots. The Hawks bricked from near and far — 39.6% on twos and 27.5% on threes. That tallied to a 40.3% effective field goal percentage, by far the worst shooting night of the season for a Washington opponent.

My characterization of this as a bad shooting night by Atlanta is intentional. The Wizards permitted their usual high number of open looks. The Hawks just missed. They also had trouble keeping Atlanta from getting offensive rebounds. The Hawks simply couldn’t get the usual tip-ins and putbacks to go through the hoop.

For Washington, the win couldn’t come at a better time. Their next game is Monday against the sad sack Detroit Pistons, which gives the Wizards a good chance at putting together their first two-game winning streak of the season.

Musings & Observations

  • Kyle Kuzma got off to a great start, scoring 13 points on 7 shots in the first quarter. His efficiency waned as he kept taking heat checks, but he finished with 29 points and 4 assists — a 129 offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) on a usage rate of 35.6%. That’s a good night’s work.
  • The only mistake Avdija made as he hunted that final assist and his first career triple-double was repeatedly passing to Patrick Baldwin Jr., who kept bricking threes. It was a strong game from Avdija, who finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 9 assists. He also was solid on defense, where he spent much of his night matched against Trae Young.
  • A second straight productive game from Jordan Poole. I’m still leery of his decision-making and overreliance on making tough shots, but against the Hawks, those tough shots — and a few easy ones — went in at a high enough rate.
  • Bilal Coulibaly attacked the rim repeatedly, and even tried to throw down a two-handed dunk on Hawks center Onyeka Okongwu. He got a transition dunk later in the game. It wasn’t a great performance from him overall, but it was good to see him trying to make plays instead of handing off to teammates and getting out of the way.
  • Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. shuffled the rotation and used Patrick Baldwin Jr. as the backup center. I’ve thought Baldwin had some potential in that role since I saw his combine measurements in the predraft process. He’s a big dude with a standing reach that’s about average for an NBA center. One outing isn’t enough to reach any conclusions, but it was good to see him come up with 9 rebounds. Now if he could just make shots...

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 Hawks

FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS HAWKS
FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS HAWKS
EFG 0.546 0.403
OREB 12 16
TOV 12 14
FTM 21 24
PACE 105
ORTG 121 94

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 former 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 60 129 35.6% 2.7 286 33.6 21
Deni Avdija 37 81 130 20.1% 2.3 188 29.9 11
Tyus Jones 26 57 126 15.0% 0.9 171 19.1 18
Delon Wright 22 48 142 13.2% 1.7 200 18.8 10
Jordan Poole 26 57 118 24.8% 0.3 169 18.7 19
Daniel Gafford 30 65 166 7.3% 2.4 145 18.6 26
Bilal Coulibaly 28 61 119 16.7% 0.3 114 13.6 23
Corey Kispert 18 39 132 19.7% 1.3 149 11.2 8
Hamidou Diallo 4 8 104 39.7% -0.4 546 0.0 1
Patrick Baldwin Jr. 18 40 81 25.9% -3.6 -32 0.0 2
Jules Bernard 5 10 0 21.8% -2.5 -466 0.0 1

Stats & Metrics: Hawks

HAWKS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
HAWKS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Saddiq Bey 27 59 117 23.2% 0.2 192 22.1 -15
Bogdan Bogdanovic 24 52 113 20.4% -0.3 147 15.0 -20
Trae Young 36 79 109 27.0% -1.5 68 10.5 -23
Onyeka Okongwu 19 42 119 22.8% 0.3 121 9.9 -19
Garrison Mathews 15 34 98 19.1% -1.2 61 4.0 -4
Clint Capela 24 53 64 11.9% -3.3 9 0.9 -10
Bruno Fernando 5 10 131 24.6% 0.4 141 0.0 1
AJ Griffin 5 10 0 6.9% -0.8 -60 0.0 1
Seth Lundy 5 10 62 15.2% -0.9 -90 0.0 1
Dejounte Murray 31 68 79 22.5% -5.7 -16 0.0 -22
Trent Forrest 13 29 58 23.5% -4.0 -70 0.0 -7
Jalen Johnson 36 79 55 12.4% -6.0 -33 0.0 -23