Wizards Playing the Odds Without Nenê

The Wizards will miss the injured Nenê for the next six weeks, but it’s an open question how much. The on/off data would say “a lot.” The team has performed better when he’s been on the floor. Other statistical data is more equivocal. Nenê’s individual production has slid to about average, which suggests the Wizards may be more able to replace him than some may think.

Still, the remaining games offer an opportunity for a minor experiment. So, I estimated the Wizards odds of winning each game for the rest of the season (assuming Nenê misses the remainder of the regular season) using their full season averages, and then using their averages when Nenê has been off the floor.

If those off-court numbers hold up, Nenê being out reduces the team’s chances of winning by approximately 6% in each game. For example, in tonight’s matchup with Toronto, I estimate that a full-strength Wizards team would have about a 40% chance of winning. Without Nenê, the odds drop to about 34%.

So anyway, here are the projected records if each game played out according to today’s odds:

Season 16 9 45 37
w/o Nenê 8 17 37 45

If the Wizards continued to perform at their established full-season level, they’d be favored to win 16 of their remaining 25 games. If that played out exactly as estimated, they’d finish the season 45-37.

If, on the other hand, they play to the level they have when Nenê has been out of the game, they’d be favored in only eight of the remaining games. Again, if the season played out exactly as estimated, they’d finish up 37-45.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. My expectation? I think Nenê’s production is replaceable. His absence will cost them some on defense, but will be a net benefit on offense. On balance, I think they won’t miss him much.

I’ll update regularly during Nenê’s absence to see how things change the rest of the way.


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