The Washington Wizards have been involved in 12 games out of 50 which have been decided by five points or less. Their record in those games is 7-5, with wins coming against Philadelphia (twice), Boston, Memphis, Sacramento, Toronto and Portland; the losses have come against Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami. Only two of the games have come on the road, the losses to the Pistons and the Hawks.
So, Washington has fared better in close games in comparison to their 13-37 record on the season overall. But the glaring problem, especially in the midst of an 0-25 road record, is that Flip Saunders does not have a player with the ability to step up as a clutch performer and truly put the team on their back when big buckets need to be scored, or when a defensive stop needs to be made.
“Synergy” is an over-used buzzword, but it’s also a damn fine NBA statistics web site. So let’s use Synergy Sports Technology to take a quick snap-shot of some Wizards numbers to date.
This season, the Wizards’ defense has often been better than the offense. With the ball, on plays that have ended in a FGA, TO or FTs, Washington has tallied 0.89 points per possession (PPP), ranked 27th out of 30 NBA teams. They score 42.9-percent of the time and turn the ball over 13.7-percent of the time in these situations.
Washington’s overall offensive rating (ORtg – points produced per 100 possessions, which is calculated differently and likely includes other factors outside of plays that end in a FGA, TO or FTs) sits in line with these focused numbers; their 102.6 ORtg also ranks 27th.
The Wizards are particularly bad at scoring on post ups — which comes as no surprise considering the roster construction — chalking up a measly 0.70 PPP over 318 opportunities, a rate that’s ranked dead last in the league. Andray Blatche has produced 0.64 PPP on 121 post up opportunities, JaVale McGee has produced 0.66 PPP on 64 post ups, Yi Jianlian 0.50 PPP on 28 post ups … you get the point, the cupboards are bare, the well is dry and the children are starving.
You’ll often hear NBA coaches, especially Flip Saunders, exclaim (perhaps complain) about two things in explanation of their team’s faults: injuries and lack of practice time. Well, with three days off since their last game, along with the report that all 15 Wizards practiced for the first time this season yesterday, there will be little room for excuses as the team travels to Philadelphia tonight to seek their first road win of the season against the 76ers. Stay tuned …
As Lee wrote, before the trade the Wizards were giving up 105.8 points per game and after, 91 points per game. Since different opponents play at a different pace, thus the possessions in a game will fluctuate, we’ll look at points scored per 100 possessions* as a more balanced factor. Before the trade, the Wizards gave up 109.8 points per 100 possessions, and 96.7 after. So, the difference in pre- and post-trade points per game is 14.8; the difference in points given up per 100 possessions is 13.0.
“Hopefully I can get back to my old self of when I was in Seattle when I made the All-Star team, when I was playing the three position…”
“We’re going to try to use him a little bit how he was used in Seattle, move him around, let him play a couple different positions, run plays for him where he doesn’t become such a one-dimensional type player.”
-said Flip Saunders, who went on to express that Lewis could play the three or four positions, throwing out several obvious lineup combinations.
Let’s get a couple facts about Lewis out of the way. He was drafted out of high school and this is his 13th year in the league — lot of tread on those tires, 847 games worth, plus 64 playoff games. He also has experienced bouts of knee tendinitis at various points in his career.
Looking at PER (Player Efficiency Rating by ESPN’s John Hollinger — league average is 15), Lewis’ best career seasons came in Seattle in 2005-06 (20.0) and 2006-07 (20.7). He made the All-Star team in 2004-05 with a PER of 19.9.
[Gilbert Arenas takes a bow after his 60 point game vs. the LA Lakers on December 17, 2006.]
Twenty-two down with game 23 coming tonight in D.C. against jersey No. 24 and his LA Lakers. 60 games to go on the season for the Wizards? Seems like a lot … until it isn’t. What also seems like a lot is the fact that a Los Angeles purple and gold team will be gunning to avenge the moral victory Washington recently achieved on their court … while gaining an Andrew Bynum back against a Wizards team likely to be without Andray Blatche, perhaps without John Wall, and with Gilbert Arenas “generally sore” … whatever that means.
So do you want to see the Wizards take on the Lakers tonight for free anyway? Sure you do. Because guys like Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, a duo who helped fuel Washington’s valiant attempts in LA, are expected to see their fair share of time on the court with the swollen knee of 7-Course-Meal-Dray expected to keep him inactive. The Nick Young-Kobe Bryant Show Part II could be fun to watch as well.
Hence, TAI is giving away more free tickets courtesy of StubHub … this time, three tickets to an upper level suite (I know, three tickets is an odd number, but three is also company.)
[Yi Jianlian procures an easy defensive rebound against the Charlotte Bobcats - K. Weidie]
It’s simplistic to look at average team rebounds per game and say the Washington Wizards are the worst in the NBA, but it wouldn’t represent the full story.
The Wizards average a league-low 38 rebounds per game. On the defensive boards they average 27.25, which ranks 28 out of 30; and on the offensive boards they average 10.75, which is tied with the San Antonio Spurs to rank 20 out of 30 NBA teams.
[Basketball Court - Georgia Avenue/Howard University - photo: K. Weidie]
Last season was the 31th anniversary of the three-point shot in the NBA. Well, sorta. The three-point line was implemented on a trial basis for the 1979-80 season and set into permanent rule for the 1980-81 season. So, perhaps technically this season is the 31th anniversary of the three-point shot in the NBA. Nonetheless, stats on the shot have been kept for the previous 31 seasons and are available thanks to Basketball-Reference.com.
Over the past several years, NBA organizations have increasingly integrated advanced statistics into their decision-making. But exactly how teams employ these statistics in personnel decisions — that is privileged information. The NBA’s trend towards quantitative analysis is seemingly personified by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey. It is easy to see why Morey is a darling to stat nerds everywhere: he never played in the NBA, and he got his bachelor’s degree (in Computer Science) at Northwestern, and an MBA from MIT. Morey also serves as chair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytic Conference. As NBA teams, and media (bloggers) seek new ways to evaluate players, attendance at the Sloan Conference has grown.
In mid-September, ESPN.com contributor Tom Haberstroh made an attempt to determine the five worst players in the franchise history of each NBA team [ESPN Insider]. The requirements, along with the implementation of John Hollinger’s PER, were:
“… a player needed to have played at least 10 minutes per contest over the course of at least 100 career games with the franchise. Furthermore, we’ve added the “Bruce Bowen Corollary” to exempt players who started for championship teams.”