Wizards/Bullets Team History: A Statistical Search Part 2 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards/Bullets Team History: A Statistical Search Part 2

Updated: September 8, 2010

Click here for part one of the TAI Basketball-Reference.com statistical research assignment, featuring a search for what opposing player has scored the most off the bench against the Wizards/Bullets since ’86-87 and the observations of Arish Narayen and Adam McGinnis. Part two, with my second search example and the findings of John Townsend and Rashad Mobley, is below.

[The Number Cruncher – Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. – K. Weidie]

For my second quick example using BBR’s database, I selected the “Team Season Finder” and ran a simple search to see which Bullets/Wizards team averaged the most assists per game in the shot clock era (starting in 1954-55). (Click here for the full results.)

The ’89-90 Bullets averaged 27 assists per game. Darrell Walker led the team with 8.0 per game, John “Hot Plate” Williams was second with 4.7 per, and Bernard King was third with 4.6 assists per game. That year, the Bullets finished fourth in the NBA in total assists, and they were the only team in the top 11 in total assists that did not make the playoffs. The ’89-90 Bullets finished 31-51.

Of course, the ‘Assists Per Game’ stat doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. You must factor in Pace (an estimate of team possessions per 48 minutes) to account for how much a team was really passing. Using BBR’s available Pace stat for each season, and my own number crunching, I was able to find out that the 1983-84 Bullets, led by Frank Johnson with 6.9 assists per game, had the best Assist Per Game/Pace ratio (basically assists per possession), and that came to 0.274. That ’89-90 team didn’t lag too far behind, finishing second best with a ratio of 0.272.

Worth noting that the teams in the Ernie Grunfeld era, seven seasons from ’03-04 to current, all finished in the bottom 12 of team assists/possession for the 37 total seasons the franchise has played in the shot clock era, the worst being the ’05-06 Wizards that only netted 0.202 assists per possession. The 19-win 2008-09 team had the best ratio at 0.220. Seems like a Grunfeld-orchestrated team really needs some willing passers.

John Townsend

One of the most memorable — some would say enjoyable — moments in recent Wizards history took place on Sunday April 4, 2010. On that evening, the Wizards (23-53) bested the woebegone New Jersey Nets (11-66) 109 to 99. Those part of the half-capacity crowd were lucky enough to see Andray Blatche frantically chase a triple-double in the game’s dying moments … and fail.

It would have been Seven-Day ‘Dray’s first triple-double. Maybe this year, Andray.

Triple-doubles are kind of a big deal, just ask “Wrong Rim Ricky” (or DeShawn Stevenson, he was there).

Triple-doubles are evidence of outstanding individual achievement, collected with frightening regularity by some of the most storied names in the annals of pro basketball history: Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Drexler, Jason Kidd, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Fat Lever, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan.

This weekend I labored through the web-pages of history (BBRStatistics not available before the 1986-1987 season) to see which Washington Wizards/Bullets were members of the exclusive Triple-Double Club.

The Youngest Triple-Doubler: Gilbert Arenas, 21 years and 303 days old — 25 PTS, 12 TRB, 10 AST

The Oldest Triple-Doubler: Rod Strickland, 32 years and 291 days old — 15 PTS, 10 TRB, 11 AST

The Triple-Doubler: Darrell Walker (and lasers). Between April 1989 and January 1991, this 6’4” former-SEC point guard scored, grabbed, and passed his way to 14 triple-doubles. John Wall are you listenin’? (Happy Birthday, Kiddo.)

The List:

  1. Darrell Walker – 14
  2. Chris Webber – 6
  3. Gilbert Arenas/Rod Strickland – 4
  4. Caron Butler – 3
  5. John Williams -2
  6. Larry Hughes/Tom Gugliotta -1

Decent showing by the home team.

[But much to my chagrin, Wall won’t be able to knock LeBron James off the top of the record book — LeBron is the youngest player to ever record a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He did it 20 days after turning 20, John Wall will just be in training camp when he’s that age.]

Just for kicks: John Wall Triple-Double (HS)

Rashad Mobley

Since Gilbert Arenas, Kirk Hinrich and John Wall figure to do most of the heavy lifting at point guard for the Wizards, I figured I’d take a closer look at some past assist numbers per 48 minutes.   I wanted to focus mainly on the Gilbert Arenas era which started in 2003-2004, but I wanted to exclude those seasons when he played an abbreviated schedule.  Click here for my Basketball-Reference.com findings.

There are a couple of notable points in this search.

  • When you do a search of all NBA guards and their assists-per-48-minutes with at least 41 games played (from ’03-04 to ’09-10) you see a Wizard, Antonio Daniels, is 228th on the list at 7.9 … well below Steve Nash‘s leading 16.1 assists per 48 minutes.
  • Javaris Crittenton made an appearance on the team list at 6.2 assists/48, and he was only 21 years of age.  John Wall will be the starting point guard at 20 years of age, so we’ll see if he exceeds those numbers. Considering he’s the No. 1 pick, he probably should.
  • Gilbert Arenas’ best assists-per-48-minutes came in ’06-07 (7.2) when DeShawn Stevenson (4.3) was his backcourt mate.  Even though Arenas figures to be more of shoot first guard, you have to figure that a pass first guard like John Wall will encourage an atmosphere where the ball whips around, so perhaps Arenas’ numbers will go up
  • Kirk Hinrich‘s best assists-per-48-minutes numbers came in his 2003-04 rookie year (9.2).  His backcourt mate that year was Jamal Crawford, who has never met a shot he didn’t like.

It will be interesting to see whether Wall, Arenas or Hinrich has the best assists/48 average on the team, and more importantly, it will be interesting to see whether a Wizard can crack the top 20 or 30 in this category given the quality of their guards.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.