Free Trade Zones

Wizards Eliminated in Last Match Before Trade Deadline

In their final game before the NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 10, the Washington Wizards delivered a strong closing argument to tear up the roster. They were up to 35 points behind the Miami Heat in the second half before a timely “comeback” reduced the final margin to “just” 21 points.

Team president Tommy Sheppard often says players will tell you what to do with them based on their performance. These players are crying out to be traded or have their roles reduced.

That’s not to say the players on the list are bad (although, by NBA standards, a few are). On the contrary, they are average or worse. Several guys on the list would be useful in the right role. But on this team, virtually everyone has to play a step or two outside of their comfort zone.

Sometimes — like that 10-3 start or like Kyle Kuzma’s recent frenzy — they look good for a while. Other times, like last night against the Heat, they look terrible. They will draw criticism for lack of effort or inattention to detail or inconsistency. The truth: they just aren’t that good.

Wes Unseld Jr. may be a good coach one day, but even him is unlikely to say he’s done a good job with this group. Realistically, it probably wouldn’t make much difference even if he was just fine. Now over 50 games into the season, his players continue to make correctable mistakes.

Last night, for example, Duncan Robinson – the Heat version of Davis Bertans – got repeated open looks from three points with simple ball screens. Again and again, Washington’s perimeter defenders died on the screens as the big man played falls coverage.


Against a career 40.7 percent three-point shooter.

Over 50 games into the season, the team is still struggling to run incoming plays.

Too many offensive possessions involve big men sliding screens they never set while three guys stand around the three-point line, and a guard dribbles the air off the ball. They still seem confused by a zone defense. Or the pressure all over the pitch.

The list could go on even longer.

The bottom line is that the Wizards are getting their ass kicked on the court this season because the organization is not good enough. It starts at the top – with Ted Leonsis setting the goals for the franchise.

It’s not new. I wrote about their absurd goals when they parted ways with Scott Brooks. And in 2013, when Leonsis blogged about the profession of Marcin Gortat. And at least as far back as 2012, when they traded their ceiling space for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.

What the team needs to do is obvious. Trade Bradley Beal and any other team another team wants and is willing to pay with promising youngsters and draft picks. There are no building blocks for a contending team on this list. Neither among veterans nor among young people. It’s a bag of guys which may play a role in the right situation but are ultimately replaceable.

What they are going to do seems equally obvious. If they can’t swing a trade for Domantas Sabonis (and they probably can’t), they’ll make a little move or two and beg Beal to take the supermax contract this summer.

Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses in basketball – shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), foul (free throws made).

I simplified them a bit. Although factors are usually presented as percentages, this is most useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers for each category are easier to understand.

Four factors: Heat 121 at Wizards 100

GFE 0.684 0.494
OREB 5 seven
TOV 18 16
MTF 17 21
ORTG 125 103

Below are some performance metrics, including the Average Player Production Game Score (PPA) (very similar to what I used to call the Dashboard Impact Score). PPA is my overall production metric, crediting players for the things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playing, defending) and hitting them for the things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, poor defense, fouls).

Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on this game’s scoreboard. The scale is the same as points and reflects the value of each player. total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.

PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small samples, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m also including PPP scores. Reminder: in PPP, 100 is average, higher is better, and override level is 45. For a single game, override level isn’t very useful, and I reiterate caution about small samples producing results strange.

POSS is the number of possessions each player had on the floor in this game.

PTS = points scored

ORTG = Offensive Rating, which is RBIs per individual possession x 100. The league average last season was 112.3. RBIs are not the same as runs scored. He understands the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as splitting the credit when receiving an assist.

USG = offensive usage rate. The average is 20%.

ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and slightly modified by me. ORTG is a measure of efficiency that takes into account the value of shots, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.

Key stats: Assistants

Corey Kispert 26 52 20 126 26.9% 249 29.7 -1
Aaron’s Vacation 28 56 14 104 24.5% 182 23.6 4
Deni Avdija 25 51 5 123 10.8% 123 14.5 1
Spencer Dinwiddie 26 52 4 93 13.8% 102 12.1 -12
Rui Hachimura 27 54 11 101 17.8% 58 7.3 -15
Montrezl Harrell 18 36 13 128 28.2% 82 6.8 -21
Kyle Kuzma 27 55 12 102 19.8% 31 3.9 -35
Davis Bertans 6 12 2 118 15.2% 79 2.1 11
Antoine Gil 2 5 0 0.0% 0 0.0 0
Thomas Bryant 22 45 8 88 18.1% -8 0.0 -11
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 22 45 9 87 21.9% -32 0.0 -4
Raul Neto 12 24 2 60 22.4% -63 0.0 -22

Key Stats: Heat

Gabe Vincent 28 57 16 160 19.4% 299 28.2 14
Kyle Lowry 30 61 11 171 11.4% 221 22.3 20
Caleb Martin 21 43 15 182 18.0% 251 18.0 15
Bam Adebayo 24 49 21 131 33.5% 203 16.4 ten
Jimmy Butler 30 60 19 107 30.1% 113 11.3 21
Dewayne Dedmon 16 32 11 140 21.1% 157 8.4 22
P.J. Tucker 23 46 2 135 5.6% 101 7.7 12
Kyle Guy seven 14 4 111 27.8% 134 3.1 -11
Max Strus 24 49 6 74 14.5% 34 2.8 11
Omer Yurtseven 8 16 4 123 22.5% 101 2.7 -11
Duncan Robinson 29 58 12 88 18.6% 3 0.3 2