Washington Wizards – Thirty Games Down, What’s Changed?

  • Ralph Thompson Jr

 

Photo Credit: NBA.com

Photo Credit: NBA.com

 

Going out to Basketball-Reference.com, here are some interesting numbers, after 30 games played.
• Points per Game: 98.5 (19 of 30)
• Opposition Points per Game: 99.6 (12 of 30)
• Simple Rating System (accounting for average point differential & strength of schedule: -2.17
• Pace Factor (estimated number of possessions per 48 minutes): 92.8 (22 of 30)
• Team Offensive Rating (per 100 possessions): 104.0 (20 of 30)
• Team Defensive Rating (per 100 possessions): 105.1 (15 of 30)
Expected W-L: 14-16 (15 of 30)
• FG% – 44.6% (league average 45%)
• 3PTFG% – 38.6% (league average 35.8%)
• 2PTFG% – 46.7% (league average 48.2%)
• FT% – 74.4% (league average 75.5%)
• Offensive rebounds – 339 (league average 359)
• Defensive rebounds – 935, next to last in NBA (Knicks) (league average 1,041)
• Total rebounds – 1274 (league average 1400)
• Assists – 691 (league average 703)
• Steals – 258 (league average 254)
• Blocked shots – 133 (league average 159)
• Turnovers – 474 (league average 491)
• Personal fouls – 597 (league average 668)

From a team perspective (see spreadsheet), the team’s pace has slowed a bit more. In the half-court, John Wall and Nene are even more important, since they are the team’s best passers.

Here are some individual numbers that caught my eye (first number is the 30-game total, second number is the 20-game total).

Washington has six players with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) at or above the league-standardized average of 15.0:
Wall (20.3 – 20.9); Nene (17.7 – 17.4); Ariza (17.0 – 17.6); Booker (16.4 – 15.0); Gortat (15.7 – 17.0); and Webster (14.9 – 15.9).

Webster leads the team with a true shooting average of (60.7% – 61.3%). Ariza is second on the team with (58.7% – 59.3). Both have seen their percentages go down slightly. With the offensive pace slowing a bit, perhaps both players’ shots are contested a bit more. Opponents have no doubt seen film, and know Ariza likes to shoot the three-pointer from the right corner/Webster likes the three-pointer from the left wing (for two examples).

Among the regulars, Webster leads the team in effective shooting percentage with (57.0% – 58.6%). Ariza is second with (56.3% – 57.3%). See above.
For assist percentage, Wall leads the team with (41.3% – 42.6%). Maynor is still second with (28.3% – 29.4%), but his playing time has dropped off a bit. Nene’s rate was (15.4% – 15.3%), and Beal was at (14.9% – 15.5%).

Marcin Gortat leads the team with (3.8% – 4.1% block percentage). With increased minutes, Kevin Seraphin has a 3.2 block percentage. He’s willing to attack opposing shooters, but his erratic playing time may adversely impact his defensive timing. Nene is pretty consistent in his average so far (2.4% – 2.7%). Jan Vesely is fourth on the team with a (2.2% – 2.6%). Some combination of Seraphin, Vesely and Chris Singleton have to keep working defensively in the post. Opponents will continue attacking Washington in the lane with substitutes enter the game.

Among the regulars, Garrett Temple’s (25.9% – 29.7) turnover rate is coming down, but it’s still high given he’s the de facto backup point guard. Maynor (19.2% – 19.7%) and Wall (16.1% – 15.3%) have room to improve that rate also. Wall’s went up slightly as he started to look for his shot more, especially late in the shot clock.

For offensive rating, Webster leads the team with 123 points per 100 possessions (from 125 per 100). Booker is next at 114 per 100, while Ariza is at 112 (from 109/100 possessions). Nene is fourth among the regulars with 109 per 100 (from 114 points per 100). Gortat is next among regulars at 107 (from 110 points per 100). Some combination of these guys have potential to consistently score more than 96 per game.

Regarding defensive rating, Nene is at 103 points per 100 possessions. Booker, Gortat and Ariza all rate at 104 per 100 possessions, with Wall at 105 per 100 possessions. That is fairly high. Once again, bearing down for one or two more possessions per game could make the difference between wins and losses.

So, going forward, here are some things I see with more than a third of the season done:
• Sixteen turnovers a game is a bunch. If the team can get that down to twelve or so, and convert those extra possessions into points, that’s gotta bear fruit in the form of some close wins in the middle of the season.
• On average, opponents shoot 46% from the field against the Wizards per game. Imbedded in that rate is 36.3% from three-point range and 50.8% from two-point range. The Wizards are being outshot from outside the arc as well as inside the arc. Quick-passing teams can find open shooters against Washington, and teams that skillfully drive or cut to the basket get layups against Washington. Maybe the Wizards can’t stop both every game, but they have to at least hinder one or the other. Perhaps sealing off the lane more efficiently would bring that defensive field goal percentage down a bit, and then lead to more wins.
• Of course, getting Beal and Nene completely healthy will help on both ends. Beal has to look for mid-range and layup opportunities more, and Nene needs to keep being that dual threat on offense. His interior passing and shooting accuracy are a pillar of the team’s half-court offense.

For games 31 through 41, there are some difficult matchups (home games, unless specifically noted):
Golden State (a loss), at Charlotte (a win), at New Orleans, at Indiana, Houston, at Chicago, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston.
On paper, the Detroit/Philadephia/Boston games look like possible wins. The others look a bit more difficult. This will be a telling stretch, to see if the Wizards get the momentum to press towards a playoff berth or get the opportunity to plan for next season.

As I stated before, “these are all just glimpses at the numbers. I welcome dissenting views on this stuff. If any of you readers see it differently, feel free to engage. I may have misapplied this data. However, I look forward to different perspectives on the numbers, and how interpreting the numbers could help Washington win more games”.

 

Washington   Wizards 2013-14
Games   (cumulative) 10 20 30
Points per   game 100.4 98.1 98.5
Opposition per   game 104.1 98.9 99.6
SRS -3.75 -2.41 -2.17
Pace Factor 95.7 93.3 92.8
Team Off   Rating 101.7 102.4 104
Team Def   Rating 105.5 103.3 105.1
Expected   Record 4-6 9-11 14-16
Actual Record 3-7 9-11 14-16
Washington Per   Game
FG Made/Game 37.8 36.85 37.5
FG Att/Game 87 83.5 84
3PT Made/Game 9.8 8.75 8.2
3PT Att/Game 24.8 22.8 21.3
2PT Made/Game 28 28 29.3
2PT Att/Game 62 60.9 62.7
FT Made/Att 15/21 15.7/21.3 15.4/20.7
Off Reb   Allowed 11.2 10.5 11.3
Defensive Reb 30.6 31 31.2
Assists/Game 24.3 23.4 23
Steals/Game 9.6 9.3 8.6
BlocksGame 4.2 4.8 4.4
Turnovers/Game 15.7 15.7 15.8
Personal   Fouls/Game 20.2 18.9 19.9
Opposition per   game
FG Made/Game 39.8 38 37.7
FG Att/Game 83.2 82.3 81.5
3PT Made/Game 8 8 7.9
3PT Att/Game 23.3 22.5 22.2
2PT Made/Game 31.6 29.9 29.8
2PT Att/Game 59.9 59.8 59.3
FT Made/Att 16/22 14.8/20 16.4/21.8
Off Reb   Allowed 10 10.8 10.7
Defensive Reb 35.6 33.5 31.7
Assists/Game 24.5 23.5 23.7
Steals/Game 7.9 7.5 8
BlocksGame 4.6 4 3.8
Turnovers/Game 18 17.5 16.2
Personal   Fouls/Game 19.4 19.8 19.1

 

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