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The Numbers Crunch: Wizards are THAT team in loss to Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards forward/center Patrick Baldwin Jr. shooting a three in the team’s loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Photo by Kenny Giarla/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s official: the Washington Wizards are that team.

The Detroit Pistons came to DC on an 18-game road losing streak. They’d lost 16 in a row in Washington. But, the Wizards are that team, and so Detroit snapped both skids and depart with their fourth win. In {checks notes} 40 games.

In defense of the Wizards, they’ve been almost as bad as the Pistons so far this season. Entering the game, I estimated the Wizards were about 9.7 points per game worse than league average. I had the Pistons at -10.9.

What makes this outcome classic #SoWizards? Detroit was missing Cade Cunningham, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Monte Morris. Washington was missing no one from their rotation. And yet...

Why’d the Wizards fail in what’s likely to be their best chance of the season to win consecutive games? The usual: conceding open looks from three-point range to Detroit’s only good shooter in the lineup, not executing defensive force rules, burning possessions inefficiently, and getting bludgeoned on the boards.

Against the Pistons, that meant:

  • Alec Burks shot 8-12 from three-point range.
  • Ausar Thompson scored 14 points on 8 shots, mostly from driving to the basket against little resistance.
  • Jaden Ivey going for 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
  • Jalen Duren grabbing 19 rebounds in 26 minutes, and the Pistons finishing the game +19 in rebounds, +10 in second chance points, +16 in points in the paint, and +12 in transition scoring.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

Musings & Observations

  • Patrick Baldwin Jr. was the backup center for a second straight game. This time he made shots — 3-3 from three-point range. He also had three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 13 minutes. The team defense was at its best when he was out there, and the team was +8 in his minutes.
  • Tyus Jones had yet another hyper-efficient and effective offensive games — 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal and zero turnovers. He shot 9-19 from the floor and 4-10 from three-point range. His offensive rating (points produced per possession x 100) was a lofty 129 on a 27.1% usage rate.
  • Pretty crummy game from Kyle Kuzma, though his PPA was a bit above average. I didn’t like his shot selection, he struggled to get separation from Isaiah Stewart and instead of setting up teammates, took bad shots instead, and the 3 steals and 2 blocks didn’t offset a lackluster defensive effort. And he lost composure with the ref, drew two quick techs, and got ejected.
  • Daniel Gafford played hard and got beat up inside by Duren and Stewart.
  • The Wizards accomplished what other NBA teams have failed to do: they made James Wiseman look competent.
  • Meh game from Deni Avdija — 12 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 turnovers. His 23.8% turnover percentage was high mark for the game.
  • Jordan Poole had yet another bad game — 16 points, zero rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover in 32 minutes. He shot 6-14 from the floor and 2-7 from three. He continues to be unable to consistently create separation, and his shot selection is deplorable. He doesn’t rebound, doesn’t set up teammates, and his defense is atrocious. He gave up multiple blow-by drives where he was still standing in place at the three-point line as his man was challenging Gafford at the rim or dropping the pass off to Gafford’s man for a dunk or layup.
  • Bilal Coulibaly shot 1-4 for a usage rate of 7.1%. He had four rebounds and two assists. He didn’t defend with energy or effectiveness, and the team was -20 with him in the game.

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: Pistons at Wizards

FOUR FACTORS PISTONS WIZARDS
FOUR FACTORS PISTONS WIZARDS
EFG 0.622 0.563
OREB 12 8
TOV 15 8
FTM 17 10
PACE 100
ORTG 129 117

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 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 +/-
Tyus Jones 31 65 129 27.1% 2.3 197 25.7 -15
Patrick Baldwin Jr. 13 28 285 9.6% 4.5 305 17.1 8
Kyle Kuzma 33 69 100 28.6% -3.0 119 16.6 -17
Landry Shamet 14 29 144 20.9% 1.7 199 11.6 6
Daniel Gafford 26 54 116 15.7% 0.0 91 10.0 -12
Deni Avdija 28 57 100 22.0% -2.0 62 7.2 -2
Corey Kispert 15 31 137 18.7% 1.3 104 6.6 -6
Delon Wright 16 33 114 18.8% -0.1 90 5.9 0
Jordan Poole 32 66 103 20.8% -1.8 23 3.1 -9
Bilal Coulibaly 27 56 86 7.1% -1.2 5 0.5 -20
Anthony Gill 3 5 100 54.1% -0.5 170 0.0 1
Johnny Davis 1 2 0.0% 0.0 0 0.0 3
Hamidou Diallo 1 2 0.0% 0.0 0 0.0 3

Stats & Metrics: Pistons

PISTONS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
PISTONS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Alec Burks 29 60 183 26.0% 10.4 330 39.4 18
Jalen Duren 26 54 176 21.0% 6.9 272 29.6 8
Ausar Thompson 27 57 167 13.8% 4.0 245 27.9 9
Jaden Ivey 32 68 105 33.5% -2.5 112 15.2 3
James Wiseman 15 31 171 11.0% 1.9 172 10.6 1
Isaiah Stewart 38 78 96 23.0% -3.5 46 7.3 19
Marcus Sasser 11 23 100 30.3% -1.1 150 7.0 9
Killian Hayes 24 51 127 10.5% 0.6 46 4.7 -4
Kevin Knox II 33 68 82 11.2% -2.6 -8 0.0 7
Joe Harris 5 10 51 12.2% -0.8 -64 0.0 -10