One Team, One Stat: Washington Wizards see drops in shots at the basket
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2018-19 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Washington Wizards, who didn’t get to the basket.
The Wizards took just 28 percent of their shots in the restricted area last season.
That was the second lowest rate in the league and down from 33 percent (the 14th highest rate) in 2016-17. No team saw a bigger drop-off.
Shots in the restricted area are the most valuable on the floor, worth 1.26 points per attempt, league-wide. Though the league shoots more 3-pointers every year, the best thing you can do offensively is get to the basket or get to the free throw line.
When you exchange some layups or dunks for shots from outside the restricted area, you don’t shoot as well. The Wizards saw the league’s sixth biggest drop in effective field goal percentage and its ninth biggest drop in offensive efficiency.
You would initially point to John Wall missing 41 games last season as the reason for the drop-off. That was part of it, but the Wizards weren’t much more efficient in games that Wall played (107.4 points scored per 100 possessions) than they were in the games he missed (106.4). They actually saw a bigger drop-off in the percentage of their shots that came from the restricted area in Wall’s minutes on the floor (from 34 percent in 2016-17 to 29 percent last season) than they did in in Wall’s minutes off the floor (from 28 percent to 27 percent).
Wall dealt with multiple injury absences, and when he played, he wasn’t the player we were used to. Last season, he averaged just 3.5 fast break points per 36 minutes, the fewest of his career and down from 5.9 the season prior. With his absence and with him not at his best, the Wizards saw the league’s second biggest drop in the percentage of their shots that came in the first six seconds of the shot clock, according to Second Spectrum tracking.
When Wall did get out on the break, he scored just 0.95 points per possession in transition, down from 1.12 in 2016-17 and the second-lowest rate among 41 players who averaged at least three transition possessions per game in 40 games or more.
Wall took 34 percent of his shots in the restricted area. That wasn’t the lowest mark of his career, but it was down from 40 percent in ’16-17. And he definitely wasn’t the only Wizard who saw a drop.
Across the roster, Wizards players didn’t get to the basket as much as they did the season prior. They did shoot more from 3-point range last season, but saw a big drop in the percentage of their 3-pointers that came from the corners. Wall ranks third in assists on corner 3-pointers over the last four seasons and his presence was certainly missed in that regard.
A healthier Wall will help. Though they were eliminated in the first round, Wall did see the biggest jump in PRA (points + rebounds + assists) from the regular season (32.7) to the postseason (43.2) among 175 players who played in at least four playoff games. Also, the Wizards did see a jump in the percentage of their shots that came from the restricted area.
The jump wasn’t as big as the drop they saw from one season to the next, though. And a healthier Wall isn’t the solution to all their issues either.
Note: The above table is based on true possession counts. Other efficiency stats here are based on possession estimates (typically higher than true possession counts).
WIZARDS NOTES – GENERAL
- Haven’t been both a better-than-average offensive team and a better-than-average defensive team since the 1998-99 season.
- Haven’t won 50 games since the 1978-79 season. That (39 years) is the longest such active streak in the league, with the second longest (Milwaukee – 17 years) being less than half as long.
- Had 15 losses to the 12 teams that finished with losing records. That was the most among the 18 teams that finished with winning records.
- Were 5.2 points per 100 possessions better when they didn’t play the day before (plus-1.7) than when they were playing the second game of a back-to-back (minus-3.6). That was the league’s third biggest differential.
- Were a plus-114 through the third quarter of games and a minus-63 in the fourth.
WIZARDS NOTES – OFFENSE
- Ranked fourth in 3-point percentage (and second in catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage), but 24th in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range (31.0 percent). Ranked last in the latter (25.6 percent) in the playoffs, the only team that attempted more mid-range shots than 3-pointers in the postseason.
- Ranked in the bottom 10 in regard to both ball movement (335 passes per 24 minutes of possession – 22nd) and player movement (10.3 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession – 25th), according to Second Spectrum tracking.
- Assisted on 63 percent of their baskets, the third highest rate in the league and up from 58 percent (16th) in 2016-17. That was the league’s third biggest increase in assist percentage.
- Ranked 27th in clutch offense (98.6 points scored per 100 possessions).
WIZARDS NOTES – DEFENSE
- After four straight seasons of better-than-average defense under former coach Randy Wittman (which ended a run of 14 straight worse-than-average seasons), have been worse-than-average in each of coach Scott Brooks’ two seasons on the bench, though they were just slightly worse last season.
- Have ranked in the top 10 in opponent turnover percentage (turnovers per 100 possessions) six of the eight seasons that John Wall has been in the league.
- Ranked 25th in opponent field goal percentage in the paint (57.4 percent), but sixth in opponent effective field goal percentage in the paint (47.6 percent).
WIZARDS NOTES – LINEUPS
- Got only 13 minutes from rookies. Those were all from Devin Robinson in the last game of the season. Only Minnesota (4) got fewer.
- Three most-used lineups outscored their opponents by 8.6 points per 100 possessions in 1,213 total minutes. All other lineups were outscored by 2.8 points per 100 possessions in 2,755 minutes.
- Most-used lineup – Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris and Gortat — allowed just 8.5 fast break points per 48 minutes, the fewest 48 lineups that played at last 200 minutes together.
- The Wizards outscored their opponents by 4.9 points per 100 possessions in 911 minutes when Kelly Oubre Jr. was on the floor with Otto Porter Jr., but were outscored by 6.7 points per 100 possessions in 577 minutes when Oubre was on the floor with Markieff Morris.
- Overall, they were 11.0 points per 100 possessions better with Porter on the floor (plus-5.0) than they were with him off the floor (minus-6.0). That was the 10th biggest on-off NetRtg differential among 266 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team last season.
- In the playoffs, they were a minus-47 in 216 minutes with Beal on the floor and a plus-35 in 72 minutes with Beal off the floor.
WIZARDS NOTES – INDIVIDUAL
- Bradley Beal was one of two players (Devin Booker was the other) to average at least five points per game on drives, five points per game on catch-and-shoot jumpers, and at least five points per game on pull-up jumpers last season.
- Beal led the league with 92 secondary assists.
- Beal and John Wall had effective field goal percentages of 34 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in the clutch. Those were the third and fifth worst marks among players who attempted at least 50 shots with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
- Jeff Green saw an increase in effective field goal percentage from 44 percent in 2016-17 to 52 percent last season. That was the second biggest jump among 126 players who attempted at least 500 shots both seasons.
- Dwight Howard had an effective field goal percentage of 55.6 percent, down from 63.3 percent in 2016-17. That was the second biggest drop among 126 players with at least 500 field goal attempts each season.
- Howard passed just 20 percent of the time out of post-ups. That was the lowest rate among 16 players who averaged at least five post-ups per game, according to Second Spectrum tracking.
- Ian Mahinmi averaged 7.2 fouls per 36 minutes, most (by a wide margin) among 275 players who played at least 1,000 minutes last season.
- Markieff Morris shot 52 percent on non-restricted-area paint shots, the second best mark among 126 players who attempted at least 100.
- Morris has seen an increase in the percentage of his shots that have come from 3-point range in each of the last four seasons (from 12.8 percent in 2013-14 to 30 percent last season), though he still took more mid-range shots (215) than threes (207) last season.
- Kelly Oubre Jr. had an effective field goal percentage of 43.4 percent after the All-Star break, the worst mark among 120 players with at least 200 post-break field goal attempts. And it was worse (41.7 percent) in the playoffs.
- Otto Porter Jr. ranked third in 3-point percentage at 44.1 percent. Over the last two seasons, only Kyle Korver (44.4 percent) and Joe Ingles (44.0 percent) have shot better than Porter (43.7 percent) on at least 500 3-point attempts.
- Porter had a usage rate of just 13.3 percent in the playoffs, down from 18.5 percent in the regular season. That was the fifth biggest drop among 115 players who played at least 1,000 regular season minutes and 100 playoff minutes. Morris (from 19.7 percent to 14.5 percent) had the sixth biggest drop.
- Austin Rivers has shot 37.4 percent on pull-up 3-pointers over the last two seasons. That’s the sixth best mark among 22 players that have attempted at least 250 pull-up threes over the two years.
- Tomas Satoransky recorded assists on 36 percent of his possessions, the fourth highest rate among players who averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 or more games. Only 61 percent of his assists were to the restricted area or 3-point range. That was the lowest rate among 93 players with at least 200 total assists.
- Wall was one of six players who assisted on more than 40 percent of their team’s baskets while they were on the floor.
- Wall scored just 0.70 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, tied for the worst mark (with rookie De’Aaron Fox) among 35 players who averaged at least three ball-handler possessions per game. He had an effective field goal percentage of 34.0 percent on pull-up jumpers, the second worst mark among 37 players who attempted at least five per game.
NBA TV’s Wizards preview premieres at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 4.
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