Opening Statements 31: Wizards vs Pacers — 2 Lumps of Coal and 2 Gifts | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements 31: Wizards vs Pacers — 2 Lumps of Coal and 2 Gifts

Updated: December 28, 2016

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers - Nov. 10, 2012

The Washington Wizards host the Indiana Pacers tonight for the second of four meetings this season. The first, you’ll recall like a dagger full of air, happened nine days ago in Indiana when Thaddeus Young stole a game-winning shot followed by a missed buzzer-beater by Bradley Beal that would’ve won the game by one. The next two meetings will be sandwiched between a home game against the Thunder in the three games packaged before the mid-February All-Star break.

The Pacers have lost three in a row since beating the Wizards — at New York, versus Boston, and at Chicago. They, at a hiccup’s moment in the East, currently sit tied with Washington for ninth in the conference, half a game behind the eighth-ranked Bucks. Before Washington attempts to avenge its last-second loss to the Pacers, let’s take a look at four interesting statistical tidbits 30 games into the season.

For the holiday season, we’ll do it in the form of two lumps of coal and two gifts…


#1 — 37.1%

This is what the Wizards allow opponents to shoot from the 3-point line, ranked 27th. They have improved since the beginning of the season but are still keeping bad company. Here are the other teams that rank toward the bottom: Dallas (40.6), Phoenix (39.1), Portland (38.1), Atlanta (36.8), Denver (36.6), Sacramento (36.5), and the L.A. Lakers (36.1).

So which individual Wizards might be responsible? First, a list of those whose presence on the court emboldens opponents to attempt more 3-pointers (vs. when they are on the bench). A positive number in this case is bad, i.e., the difference in opponents’ 3PAs per 100 possessions when they are playing versus on the bench:

  • Nicholson +2.8
  • Thornton +2.3
  • Smith +2.1
  • Burke +1.8
  • Oubre +1.3
  • Satoransky +0.9
  • Wall +0.1
  • Beal -0.5
  • Porter -1.1
  • Gortat -2.6
  • Morris -3.3

More importantly, against whose presence do opponents make more 3-pointers? The difference in percentage points (again, a positive number is bad):

  • Thornton +7.9%
  • Smith +7.1%
  • Burke +5.0%
  • Nicholson +3.3%
  • Satoransky +2.2%
  • Oubre +0.8%
  • Morris -2.0%
  • Porter -2.2%
  • Gortat -4.3%
  • Wall -6.2%
  • Beal -6.7%

#2 — 1.18 points per possession

This is what the Wizards have given up on “miscellaneous” plays, events which don’t fit into’s standard play type tracking (transition, isolation, pick-and-rolls, post-ups, spot-ups, handoffs, cuts, screens, and putbacks). So, when action breaks down and something completely random happens, such as the ball bouncing off various players (on either side), or a last-second heave from halfcourt, etc. For Washington, these types of plays happen 6.2 times per game on average, and that 1.19 PPP they give up is tied for third-most in the league after 1.22 of the Lakers and 1.21 of the Nets. The Wizards can’t help but be miscellaneous.


#1 — .642

This is Otto Porter’s True Shooting Percentage (TS%), which factors in 3-pointers (worth 1.5x more than 2s) as well as free throws. Otto’s TS% has gone from .405 as a rookie to .523 to .564 to this year’s amazing number. Marcin Gortat ranks second on the Wizards with a TS% of .584.

According to, only eight other NBA players (who qualify for the minutes per game leaderboard) have a TS% equal or greater than .640, and only three of those nine total players — Kevin Durant, Porter, and Patty Mills — are non-big men (plus Joe Ingles, if you are getting specific).

Furthermore, this feat has only been accomplished by a non-big 42 times during the 3-point era by 27 different players (with four such instances happening so far this season). Charles Barkley did it the most (four times), and in terms of the Washington franchise, each Tim Legler and Brent Price accomplished the feat in 1995-96. Max Otto, here we come…

#2 — 8.8 and 7.5

John Wall and Bradley Beal, respectively, lead the Wizards in free throws attempted per 100 possessions. Wall has improved by 2.8 FTAs/100 poss. from last season and is 1.3 over his career average. Plus, he is shooting a career-high 80.6% from the charity stripe. Beal is plus-2.5 over last season’s rates and is 2.8 over his career rate. He is also shooting a career-high 81.7% from the line.

Whatever Scott Brooks is doing is working, but where do they rank league-wide?

Top 5 (FTAs/100 poss.)

  • Russell Westbrook – 15.1
  • DeMarcus Cousins – 14.1
  • James Harden – 13.7
  • Anthony Davis – 13.1
  • Isaiah Thomas – 13.1

Wall ranks 22nd, after Eric Bledsoe (8.9) and tied with Andrew Wiggins (8.8)

Beal ranks 34th, tied with both Carmelo Anthony and Andre Drummond.


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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.