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The Numbers Crunch: A humiliating #SoWizards performance in Cleveland

Stats, analysis, commentary.

Washington Wizards v Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma
Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Losing by 39 to the Cleveland Cavaliers is embarrassing. Add on that Cleveland was content to dribble out the shot clock with nearly two minutes left to play in the game. And that they conceded layups to Wizards trying to pad their stats. And that Cleveland was missing 2022 All-Star guard Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley, who was named first team All-Defense last season.

It feels like we need a new word that conveys the embarrassment, humiliation, and debaculousness of last night’s Wizards loss to the Cavaliers. Oh yeah, we have one: #SoWizards.

The Wizards were awful at both ends of the floor. Their defensive rating was a staggering 142 — 26.9 points per 100 possessions worse than average. Their offensive rating was 103 — 12.8 points per 100 possessions below average.

They let the Cavaliers post an effective field goal percentage of 63.4%, and somehow that was only Washington’s sixth worst defensive efg of the season. It didn’t matter because Cleveland had a 42.9% offensive rebound rate and were +26 in rebounding.

Bright side: everyone got to rest up for their Friday matchup with Cleveland in Cleveland. The heart races with anticipation.

Musings & Observations

  • Cleveland wing Max Strus had an efg of 92.3% — 9-13 from the floor and 6-8 from three.
  • Cavs center Jarrett Allen had 17 points, 19 rebounds, and 7 assists in 29 minutes. Much of his damage came in the third quarter when he notched 10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and a block.
  • Jordan Poole has an incredible array of moves that don’t get him open shots or create opportunities for teammates. They sometimes look great (and often ridiculous), but skillz are useless if they don’t translate into points on the scoreboard. And with Poole, they don’t.
  • The team’s defensive rating with Poole and Kuzma on the floor was a gobsmacking 157.9.
  • Even in last night’s debacle, not everyone played poorly. Kuzma was decent — 16 points on 12 shots — Muscala and Gafford weren’t bad, and Landry Shamet made shots.
  • Bilal Coulibaly shot badly (2-12 from the floor and 1-4 from three-point range), but it was good to see him looking to score. He also corralled five rebounds to go with three steals and two blocks.
  • Will Dawkins can’t trade off the vets fast enough. The “veterans” on this team aren’t much good, and it’s time to turn things over to the next generation and focus on helping them improve. Coulibaly should be an offensive focal point — he’ll make rookie mistakes and learn from them, and hopefully come back better prepared to lead a more competitive team next season or the year after. Parking him behind Poole is pointless.

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 Cavaliers

FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS CAVALIERS
FOUR FACTORS WIZARDS CAVALIERS
EFG 0.475 0.634
OREB 12 18
TOV 8 8
FTM 5 12
PACE 98
ORTG 103 142

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).

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 23 47 131 23.3% 1.7 145 11.2 -22
Mike Muscala 21 43 151 18.2% 2.8 138 9.8 -22
Daniel Gafford 20 41 157 18.2% 3.1 134 9.2 -13
Landry Shamet 15 31 144 19.1% 1.7 166 8.5 -15
Tyus Jones 21 43 93 20.7% -2.0 58 4.1 -12
Corey Kispert 20 40 109 23.6% -0.6 39 2.6 -21
Delon Wright 18 38 59 11.4% -2.4 6 0.4 -21
Jared Butler 9 18 255 9.8% 2.5 199 0.0 -6
Anthony Gill 5 9 204 8.0% 0.7 111 0.0 4
Deni Avdija 21 44 72 29.3% -5.7 -1 0.0 -17
Jordan Poole 23 47 89 22.8% -2.9 -6 0.0 -22
Johnny Davis 5 11 68 21.2% -1.1 -45 0.0 0
Eugene Omoruyi 7 14 86 17.8% -0.7 -59 0.0 -4
Bilal Coulibaly 33 67 41 18.8% -9.3 -57 0.0 -24

Stats & Metrics: Cavaliers

CAVALIERS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
CAVALIERS MIN POSS ORTG USG +PTS PPA GmSC +/-
Max Strus 28 57 185 19.6% 7.8 412 39.3 32
Jarrett Allen 29 60 169 21.4% 6.9 348 34.8 27
Caris LeVert 23 47 138 30.4% 3.3 367 28.6 22
Donovan Mitchell 24 50 125 33.8% 1.6 246 20.3 18
Georges Niang 28 57 143 15.8% 2.4 194 18.4 24
Isaac Okoro 20 40 241 8.8% 4.4 239 15.8 12
Sam Merrill 29 58 132 16.0% 1.6 144 13.9 27
Craig Porter Jr. 15 30 143 19.4% 1.6 190 9.4 7
Tristan Thompson 19 38 91 28.0% -2.6 65 4.1 12
Dean Wade 20 41 89 5.7% -0.6 8 0.5 15
Damian Jones 6 13 140 16.6% 0.5 242 0.0 -1