The Wizards Said WHAT?!
Post-Pacers Game – Nov. 19, 2012
via TAI’s John Converse Townsend
The Worst NBA Offense in a Decade?
One way to measure an NBA offense on a relatively even playing field is by Offensive Rating, which is an estimate of how many points a team scores per 100 possessions. It’s said to be an “estimate” because there’s no concrete, agreed upon method of calculating a possession.* For more, feel free to visit the glossary on Basketball-Reference.com, which has NBA possession data going back to the 1973-74 season.
What say the numbers?
The Wizards average a league-worst 94.3 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball-Reference.com. If you do a search of the BBR database, only eight NBA teams since the 1973-74 season have had an Offensive Rating (OffRtg) below 95. The 2002-03 Denver Nuggets were the last team to do so with an OffRtg of 92.2. Juwan Howard, of all people, led that Nuggets team in scoring with 18.4 points per game; James Posey was second with a 14.1 average, and the Wizards’ own Nene—who was a rookie that season—was the third Nugget, averaging double-figures in scoring at 10.5.
This season’s Wizards also have three players averaging double-figures in points: Jordan Crawford (12.2), Bradley Beal (11.7), and Kevin Seraphin (10.1).
Before those Nuggets came the 1999-00 Chicago Bulls (94.2 OffRtg), the 1998-99 Bulls (92.4 OffRtg), and then there were the struggling offenses of the 1970s — the 1977-78 New Jersey Nets (95.0), the 1976-77 New York Knicks (92.2), the 1974-75 New Orleans Jazz (92.5), and the 1973-74 Philadelphia 76ers (93.1).
[*Note: Basketball-Reference says that the Wizards average 94.3 points per 100 possessions; NBA.com/stats says that they average 91 points per 100 possessions — both are league-worsts according to the respective data sets. NBA.com's data on OffRtg goes back to the 2000-01 season, and, according to that site, the 2002-03 Denver Nuggets averaged 88.9 points per 100 possessions. That Nuggets squad is the only team in the NBA.com 13-season data set with a lower OffRtg than Washington's 91.0.]
So yea, the worst NBA offense in a decade. But not everything is ”the worst” in Wizards Nation this season. Via the Elias Sports Bureau:
Washington is the 21st team in NBA history to lose its first nine games in a season. But the Wizards have been outscored by “only” 7.7 points per game this season. All of the other 20 0-9 teams allowed at least nine points per game more than their opponents.
There’s also this tid-bit of positive news, for what it’s worth: The Wizards currently sit only five games out of the eighth playoff spot in the East, which is currently held by the 6-5 Boston Celtics. This Washington franchise is certainly inching closer to another lost season, but we at TAI aren’t ready to call it that just yet. (Emphasis on the word “yet.”)