Wizards/Bullets Team History: A Statistical Search, Part 1
[A John Wall t-shirt seen at the 2010 Columbia Heights Day Festival.]
There’s a reason the Sports-Reference.com family of sites was named one of Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites for 2010. They have just about everything you’d want, sports fact and statistically speaking, and their search capabilities are always growing … well, if they only had NBA game logs that pre-dated the 1986-87 season.
Nevertheless, I recently gave an assignment to the staff of Truth About It.net, (Rashad Mobley, John Townsend, Arish Narayen and Adam McGinnis). I asked them to go to the Basketball-Reference.com database search page, come up with a creative query, and write something quick about it. I also came up with some quick example searches myself.
For instance, I went to the “Player Game Finder” and ran a simple search selecting ‘Wizards/Bullets’ as the opponent, ‘did not start’ as the role, and sorted by points. (Click here for the full results.)
Did you know … (from the ’86-87 season to current, the extent of BBR’s game log database), the 37 points Al Harrington scored for the New York Knicks against the Wizards on February 26 of this year was the most points scored on Washington by a player off the opposing team’s bench?
I remember that game, it had a little bit of everything … and by that, I mean the Wizards lost 118-116 in an overtime where the two teams only had a combined two points 4:45 into the extra period. Also, Harrington scored his 37 points in 34 minutes off the bench on an efficient 21 field-goal attempts (5-8 from deep, 8-12 from the free-throw line).
The returns of Arish and Adam are below, the rest will come in part two.
In 2004-2005, the Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers [Correction: Miami Heat] in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. That season represented the apex of the Arenas/Butler/Jamison teams’ success. Using ’04-05 as a beginning point, I set out to find the Wizards’ best, regular season defensive performance since.
In the Basketball-Reference.com database, I used a search criterion of:
- Opp FG% <= 40%,
- Opp 3pt% <= 30%,
- Opp Pts <= 90, and
- Opp FTA <= 10.
Though these are fairly subjective indicators of what constitutes the team’s “best defensive performance,” (I threw the FT ceiling in to account for teams getting to the charity stripe repeatedly despite not shooting well), I felt that this search would adequately narrow down the results. What I didn’t know: that this search would turn up one seemingly unremarkable regular season game that took place in D.C. on February 21, 2006.
That’s right. Since ’04-05, there has only been one regular season game where the Wizards have met all of these defensive benchmarks. It was a game where Ricky Davis shot the ball 20 times, and Trenton Hassell played 31 minutes. After looking at this box score, I actually understand why Kevin Garnett is angry all the time.
The only logical conclusion for the Wiz? Find Michael Ruffin at whatever grocery store he works at now and re-sign him.
While there are many unknowns of how the 2010-2011 Wizards season will play out, there is no doubt the franchise has committed to a new youth movement with three rookies on the roster in first round picks John Wall, Trevor Booker, and Kevin Seraphin. Their development will be key in the Wizards laying a strong foundation for the future so it made sense to analyze past rookies under the tutelage of Coach Flip Saunders. In 14 NBA seasons, with three teams, Saunders has coached a total of 28 first year players. Here are the results (you can click on the BBR link of the image to zoom in):
Minnesota Timberwolves [BBR]
Detroit Pistons [BBR]
Washington Wizards [BBR]
Things that stood out:
- Kevin Garnett’s stats obviously were limited due to being a green, skinny high school kid, but he still showed promise with 10 points, six rebounds and two assists per game.
- Stephon Marbury’s 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio was pretty superb for a 19-year old point guard.
- Wally World’s hype as the next great white hope had some legitimacy.
- Dean Garrett’s professional career seems interesting, and if he were a Bullet, The WizzNutzz would be tweeting annual poetry about him with Kyle featuring birthday posts and basketball cards.
Kidding aside, it is quite apparent that losing three first round picks in the Joe Smith contract debacle severely diminished chances for Flip to teach young talent in Minnesota. Coach Saunders led veteran laden, championship contending Pistons squads that had few opportunities for rookie contributors. And the 2009-10 Wizards were constructed for a run at the playoffs, the only rookies to appear in any contests were late season D-League call ups.
With John Wall, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and perhaps Hamady N’Diaye, Saunders will now have plenty of chances in Washington to do what he says he loves to do at his coaching core. Teach.
Part two forthcoming …