Wizards Update: About to Be Tested

At 21-8, the Wizards are off to the second best start in franchise history. Check out the very bottom of the table in that link and note that Washington had its worst start in franchise history just two seasons ago. The front office’s strategic shift to proven veterans combined with a historically weak Eastern Conference to bring about an abrupt about-face in the team’s record.

While the Wizards have enjoyed the league’s easiest schedule so far, things are about to change. To this point in the season, Washington’s opponents have been 1.32 points per game worse than average. Over the next 19 games, their competition will be about a point per game better than average.

To say it another way, Washington’s average opponent so far this season has been the equivalent of a 37-win team — a lottery squad in either conference most years. Over the next quarter of the season, their opponents will be the quality of a 44-win team — a near-lock for the playoffs in either conference.

The next five games will likely be the toughest stretch of the regular season. Over the next week, Washington has road games against Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and New Orleans — and the schedule includes two sets of back-to-back contests.

The Wizards will be underdogs in all five games, and their average competition this week will be equivalent to a 50-win squad. It won’t be easy.

I ran the numbers in my “who’s gonna win?” machine. The machine projects Washington to go 9-10 over the next month, including a five-game skid starting tonight. This will likely test the faith of Wizards fans, but I think reality for Washington is that they’re a solid team in a weak conference.

Based on how teams have performed to this point in the season, The Machine predicts Washington will go 33-20 over their remaining games to finish the year 54-28. This would be tied with the 1978-79 Bullets for the third best mark in franchise history. Fans my age might recall that the 78-79 team went to the NBA Finals where they lost to Seattle. I suspect fans of any age would be ecstatic if this year’s team reached the Finals and got thumped by a top-shelf Western Conference opponent.

Weekly Player Production Average Update

Player Production Average (PPA) is an overall rating stat I developed that credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt the cause. PPA is pace neutral, accounts for defense, and includes a “degree of difficulty” factor based on the level of competition a player faces while on the floor. In PPA, 100 = average, higher is better and replacement level is 45.

PLAYER GMS MPG 10-Nov 18-Nov 24-Nov 3-Dec 8-Dec 17-Dec 23-Dec PPA
Marcin Gortat 29 29.7 181 186 170 175 179 178 178 173
John Wall 29 35.8 185 180 180 168 167 175 171 171
Paul Pierce 28 27.0 140 138 165 134 134 154 142 143
Rasual Butler 25 22.8 60 131 116 128 155 140 134 123
Kris Humphries 28 21.9 46 87 90 82 109 100 88 109
Bradley Beal 20 33.0 122 63 69 94 90 98
Nene Hilario 22 24.2 108 102 68 67 83 94 96 97
Andre Miller 29 12.4 72 69 92 103 102 101 89 85
Otto Porter 28 19.0 97 106 101 95 84 81 84 82
Garrett Temple 25 14.4 121 112 96 100 98 91 90 75
Drew Gooden 18 13.3 42 40 59 78 64 47 47 44
Kevin Seraphin 28 15.3 38 13 17 12 28 34 45 36
DeJuan Blair 9 4.6 -41 -40 -40 -74 -56 -47 -46 -34
Glen Rice 5 8.6 -120 -117 -117 -117 -114 -113 -111 -111

Plenty of stability in this update as several players seem to have established their performance levels.

Humphries went back into “above average” territory with two outstanding games off the bench this week.

Butler’s production seems to be coming back to earth after preposterously torrid shooting for the first 20 games of the season. Hopefully, whatever’s lost from his return to norms will be offset by improvement from Beal.

After improving his PPA in three consecutive updates, Seraphin spent the past week Seraphining. Over his past three games, Seraphin played 40 minutes. During those minutes on the floor, he scored 20 points (yay points!) while getting three rebounds, one assist, no steals or blocks, but four turnovers and seven fouls.

He did shoot 10-20 over those three games, but he got to the free throw line just once (he missed). His 50% shooting isn’t bad — league average efg is .499. But, add in the turnovers, the lack of offensive rebounds and the inability to get to the free throw line, and his offensive rating (points produced per individual possession x 100) was just 81 — 25 points below league average, and nearly 27 points below the Wizards’ average over the past three games.

With the schedule getting tougher, it’s time for the Seraphin experiment to end.


Wizards Update: Best Start In Franchise History

These are strange and enjoyable days for Wizards fans. The team is 19-7, tied for the best start in franchise history, and metaphysically certain to make another trip to the playoffs. They’re in a tight race with the Atlanta Hawks for first in the Southeast Division. And John Wall is probably going to make his second All-Star game appearance in February.

The team is fairly deep in terms of solid players, though Wall and Pierce (the team’s top producers) still fall short of the game’s elite. The Wizards have benefited so far from playing the league’s easiest schedule. That’ll change somewhat when they make their trips to the West, but they’re in the Eastern Conference so their competition isn’t going to get much more challenging.

That said, the Wizards have no control over the schedule or the state of other teams. Their job is to beat whoever’s in the other color jersey, and they’re doing a good job of that so far this season.

Weekly Player Production Average Update

Player Production Average (PPA) is an overall rating stat I developed that credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt the cause. PPA is pace neutral, accounts for defense, and includes a “degree of difficulty” factor based on the level of competition a player faces while on the floor. In PPA, 100 = average, higher is better and replacement level is 45.

PLAYER GMS MPG 10-Nov 18-Nov 24-Nov 3-Dec 8-Dec 17-Dec PPA
Marcin Gortat 26 29.5 181 186 170 175 179 178 178
John Wall 26 36.1 185 180 180 168 167 175 171
Paul Pierce 25 27.4 140 138 165 134 134 154 142
Rasual Butler 22 22.3 60 131 116 128 155 140 134
Nene Hilario 19 24.6 108 102 68 67 83 94 96
Bradley Beal 23 32.9 122 63 69 94 90
Garrett Temple 17 15.6 121 112 96 100 98 91 90
Andre Miller 26 12.2 72 69 92 103 102 101 89
Kris Humphries 25 21.5 46 87 90 82 109 100 88
Otto Porter 25 19.6 97 106 101 95 84 81 84
Drew Gooden 16 14.8 42 40 59 78 64 47 47
Kevin Seraphin 25 15.6 38 13 17 12 28 34 45
DeJuan Blair 8 4.6 -41 -40 -40 -74 -56 -47 -46
Glen Rice 5 8.6 -120 -117 -117 -117 -114 -113 -111

Production rates are stabilizing for many on the team. This week, most of the ratings edged down slightly — that was the case for Wall, Pierce, Butler, Beal, Miller, Temple, and Humphries. Nenê and Porter edged up a bit.

The biggest improver was Kevin Seraphin, whose rating for the season rose to replacement level.

How Important Is Wizards Record When Holding Opponents Under 100 Points?

Wilt 100

So, I keep seeing the nugget that the Wizards are 15-0 when holding opponent under 100 points. This is true, but…

  1. The average team is scoring 100.2 points per game. By definition, the break point for winning and losing is going to be around 100.
  2. Three other teams are unbeaten when opponent scores less than 100 — GSW (15-0), ATL (14-0), TOR (12-0). Sorta interesting that three of the four unbeatens are in the East.
  3. Four teams have losing records when opponent scores less than 100 — CHO (3-5), NYK (5-9), DET (4-9), PHI (1-7). Hmm, all in the East.
  4. Two teams are .500 — ORL (8-8) and UTA (5-5). Another team in the East and one of the really bad teams in the West.
  5. League record when opponent scores less than 100 points — 261-103, a .717 winning percentage.
  6. OKC leads league in holding opponent under 100. They’ve done it 19 times and are 11-8 in those games. Of course, they’ve missed Durant and Westbrook (aka their offense) for many of those games.
  7. The Lakers are 5-2 when holding opponent under 100.
  8. Wizards are tied with GSW, MEM, MIA, and BRK for 4th most games holding opponent under 100. OKC (19), POR (17), HOU (17) and ORL (16) are the top four.

This statoid isn’t as meaningful as we’d like it to be.

But, as friend of the blog fishercob noted, “Expect to see it mentioned repeatedly during CSN’s broadcast.”

The Seraphin Problem

Fifth year center Kevin Seraphin has consistently gotten playing time as Washington’s backup center. I’ve written many times about why this is a bad idea, but it hasn’t cost the team much. Yet. There still seems to be a sentiment that Seraphin has improved, but…well…let’s look at the numbers.

Here’s Seraphin’s PPA for each game this season:

Date   Opp MP PPA
10/29/2014 @ MIA 7.7 -182
10/30/2014 @ ORL 1.9 -903
11/4/2014 @ NYK 22.1 166
11/5/2014 IND 13.9 -75
11/7/2014 @ TOR 18.1 58
11/8/2014 @ IND 19.5 126
11/12/2014 DET 16.7 -62
11/15/2014 ORL 16.1 -32
11/19/2014 DAL 10.6 -33
11/21/2014 CLE 23.4 75
11/22/2014 @ MIL 13.1 -26
11/25/2014 ATL 14.8 -11
11/26/2014 @ CLE 22.7 -15
11/29/2014 NOP 6.7 -26
12/1/2014 MIA 19.6 19
12/3/2014 LAL 14.1 13
12/5/2014 DEN 22.5 156
12/7/2014 @ BOS 10.2 171
12/8/2014 BOS 16.4 257
12/10/2014 @ ORL 12.1 74
12/12/2014 LAC 15.4 -56
12/14/2014 UTA 16.0 -54
12/16/2014 MIN 17.1 52

For three straight games in December, it looked like maybe Seraphin had suddenly deciphered the league, but he followed it up with four not-so-good performances. Okay, that was generous. Two of those games were horrific, and one was downright awful.

Here’s a breakdown of his season so far:

QUAL               COUNT                     %
Average or better 5 22%
Replacement level or worse 14 61%
Negative 12 52%

For those keeping score at home, Seraphin has played 23 games this season. He’s been an average or better producer in five of those contests — 22%. He’s been replacement level or worse in 14 of 23 — 61%. He’s been a net negative (bad plays have outweighed the good) 12 of 23 — 52%.

He has been better in December with two very good games and one great one. But, in the nine games so far this month, there are still four that rate below replacement level (two of which were net negatives), and a fifth that was just barely above replacement level (the most recent). Net for the month, a PPA of 70 in which 94% of his production came in just three games.

When I look at his total credits, 84% of his season production has been in December — 79% in that single three-game stretch.

So far this season, 56 players identified as centers by Basketball-Reference have played at least 150 minutes. Of those players, Seraphin is tied for 51st in total production credits. In PPA (the per possession stat I usually publish), he’s third from the bottom. Only Kendrick Perkins and Jason Smith have been less productive per minute.

Here’s where Seraphin ranks among centers in various statistical categories:

mpg 45
ortg 48
usg 11
pts 12
efg 26
ft% 38
oreb 43
dreb 36
reb 40
ast 12
tov 52
stl 56
blk 37
pf 54
def 54

The non-efficiency stats are in production per 100 possessions. What I see here is a guy who uses a lot of possessions, but not efficiently. His shooting is okay and he has become a willing passer, but his turnovers are a big problem. Also, he’s a sub-par rebounder and a very poor defender. (See that last entry — Seraphin ranks as the league’s third worst defensive center, according to the defense part of my metric. Only Jason Smith and Alex Ajinca rate worse so far this season.)

As I mentioned earlier, the Wizards schedule has been easy enough, and the starters have been good enough, that they haven’t been hurt much by giving Seraphin a steady diet of minutes. But, when competition gets tougher, the Seraphin problem will arise.

For now, it’s probably okay to continue playing him in the hopes that whatever fell into place December 5-8 will fall again and that Seraphin will become a solid reserve. Barring that unlikely event, the time is coming when the experiment will need to end. To that end, the Wizards might be wise to find minutes for DeJuan Blair, and to plan for the time when their PF/C rotation will be Marcin Gortat, Nenê, Kris Humphries and Paul Pierce.

Wizards Update: Is Wall A Top 5 PG?

Now in his fifth year, Wizards PG John Wall is having the best season of his career. He’s drawn accolades from observers around the league, and some Washington fans have even started wondering if he might be a fringe MVP candidate. The MVP talk and the “he’s the best PG in the league” assertions are premature, however. He’s terrifically productive, but there’s still room for significant improvement.

Put away the pitchforks and torches. While Wall isn’t quite where fans want to place him, this is really good news for the Wizards. He’s a phenomenal player whose best days are likely still in the future.

While Wall’s passing and offensive creativity elicits praise, his greatest contribution is on the defensive end. In the defense part of my metric (Player Production Average — PPA for short), Wall rates as the league’s best defensive PG. That’s not a typo. Number one. Top of the heap. Nobody better. That finding is echoed by ESPN’s Real Plus Minus stat. If the season ended today, he’d be on my first-team All-Defense ballot.

As head coach Randy Wittman told the Sports Junkies this morning, Wall has all the attributes of an outstanding defender — size, quickness, speed, strength, length. And while he’s rated as a good defender in my system in previous years, he’s made the defensive leap this season with suffocating on-ball pressure, hard close-outs on shooters, and impeccable timing in the passing lanes.

The Los Angeles Clippers, led by elite PG Chris Paul, struggled to get into their offensive sets early in Washington’s win last week because of Wall’s pressure. Consider this: Paul has 49 total turnovers this season. Six of them came against the Wizards.

By now you’re probably wondering: If Wall’s so great on defense and he’s such a great passer and the Wizards are winning, why don’t you agree he’s an MVP candidate? Why are you about to tell me he’s not a top five PG?

Which brings me back to a junk metric I created last season: Only Good Stuff. In its simplest form, OGS is points + rebounds + assists + steals + blocks.

Wall is among the game’s more active players when he’s out there. He produces lots of OGS — 7th most in the league, in fact. Here’s the top 10 in OGS:

  1. James Harden — 977
  2. Anthony Davis — 940
  3. Stephen Curry — 922
  4. Kobe Bryant — 917
  5. Lebron James — 917
  6. LaMarcus Aldridge — 869
  7. John Wall — 867
  8. Blake Griffin — 843
  9. Kyle Lowry — 361
  10. Damian Lillard — 835

That’s a pretty impressive group, and Wall sits second among PGs. But, it’s ONLY the good stuff. What if we look at the other side of the ledger — Only Bad Stuff (missed field goal attempts + 0.5 x missed free throw attempts + turnovers + fouls)? Well, Wall’s near the top of that list too — 6th most OBS. The bottom 10:

  1. Kobe Bryant — 502
  2. James Harden — 422
  3. Monta Ellis — 389
  4. Josh Smith — 387
  5. Carmelo Anthony — 384
  6. John Wall — 367
  7. Tyreke Evans — 365
  8. Kyle Lowry — 361
  9. Blake Griffin — 360
  10. Stephen Curry — 351

So, with Wall (and several other of the game’s outstanding players), lots of good AND lots of “bad.” What if we combine the two? Because the categories aren’t weighted based on how much they contribute to winning, let’s call this last category Unweighted Total Stuff (UTS) — OGS – OBS. Here’s the top 10:

  1. Anthony Davis — 687
  2. Stephen Curry — 571
  3. Lebron James — 559
  4. James Harden — 555
  5. Chris Paul — 523
  6. LaMarcus Aldridge — 523
  7. Marc Gasol — 512
  8. Tyson Chandler — 505
  9. John Wall & Damian Lillard — 501
  10. Blake Griffin — 484

Enough with the “stuff,” according to PPA (which is pace neutral, accounts for defense, and includes a degree of difficulty factor), Wall currently sits 8th among PGs on a per minute basis. Westbrook, Curry and Paul are clearly the top three. Lillard is next. Then it’s a tight group of Jeff Teague, Lowry, Mike Conley and Wall.

The scores of Wall’s group are close enough that I’d classify them as “about the same” and reasonable minds can differ on what order they should be in. I won’t argue if you want to push Wall to fifth, though I don’t see justification for ranking him higher at this point.

As mentioned above, Wall rates as the best defender — Lowry and Conley rate as average; Teague as a good-not-outstanding defender. However, Wall is the least efficient on offense among the top PGs by approximately 8 points per 100 possessions.

In TOTAL production, Wall currently sits 5th behind Curry, Paul, Lillard and Lowry. Kyrie Irving slips in ahead of Wall for fifth in per game PPA.

What can Wall do to improve? Shoot better and commit fewer turnovers.

How good has Wall been in December? His PPA for the month is 219 so far. If that was his PPA for the season, he’d rank 4th among PGs, ahead of Lillard, but still behind Westbrook, Curry and Paul.

To this week’s PPA update…

PPA is an overall rating stat I developed that credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt the cause. PPA is pace neutral, accounts for defense, and includes a “degree of difficulty” factor based on the level of competition a player faces while on the floor. In PPA, 100 = average, higher is better and replacement level is 45.

PLAYER GMS MPG 10-Nov 18-Nov 24-Nov 3-Dec 8-Dec PPA
Marcin Gortat 19 30.2 181 186 170 175 179 178
John Wall 19 35.9 185 180 180 168 167 175
Paul Pierce 19 27.3 140 138 165 134 134 154
Rasual Butler 15 21.6 60 131 116 128 155 140
Andre Miller 19 12.4 72 69 92 103 102 101
Kris Humphries 18 22.0 46 87 90 82 109 100
Nene Hilario 13 33.2 108 102 68 67 83 94
Bradley Beal 10 24.6 122 63 69 94
Garrett Temple 17 17.0 121 112 96 100 98 91
Otto Porter 18 20.1 97 106 101 95 84 81
Drew Gooden 12 15.9 42 40 59 78 64 47
Kevin Seraphin 18 15.3 38 13 17 12 28 34
DeJuan Blair 6 4.6 -41 -40 -40 -74 -56 -47
Glen Rice 5 8.6 -120 -117 -117 -117 -114 -113

The Paul Pierce signing looks better and better. The last time Pierce was this productive was the 2011-12 season. His efficiency numbers have surged as the SF has found the Fountain of Youth. One potential warning sign is a slip in his defensive impact since the season’s opening weeks. After rating solidly above average earlier in the year, he’s down to average in my most recent update.

Andre Miller is another of the Wizards ancients who continues to perform well. The team plays dramatically different when he replaces Wall in the lineup (they slow by 10 possessions per 48 minutes), but they’re crazy efficient when he’s out there. It seems like every game is a masterclass for how to get to the rim despite running in slow motion.

Statistical tidbit: so far this season, Wall is averaging 14.8 assists per 100 possessions. Miller is averaging 14.4.

Beal and Nenê increased production after a couple rough weeks. I hope Wittman continues to use Nenê off the bench where he can face opponent reserves when Washington is on offense, and anchor a weak defensive second unit.

Kevin Seraphin was up for a second straight week. His rebounding has improved the past couple weeks, though his offensive efficiency remains poor. Among the team’s regulars, he’s in a virtual tie with Miller as the least effective defender.

NFL’s New Personal Conduct Policy Won’t Solve Its Problem


The NFL announced that its owners have unanimously approved a new, tougher personal conduct policy for its players. The biggest thing they showed with the vote is that they still don’t understand the problem they’re facing.

When Roger Goodell was appointed commissioner, he did so with the mission to stamp out bad behavior by the players. With himself as judge and jury, Goodell would reach out with the heavy hand of justice, and the league’s reputation would be transformed.

But, as I wrote back in September, Goodell took careful aim on the wrong problem. Despite being a public relations guy during his career in the NFL’s league office, Goodell fell victim to a classic mistake: he believed the media.

It’s not that news reports were wrong when reporting about individual misdeeds, it was the belief that those individual misdeeds converged into a deep-rooted problem. In reality, an objective and systematic look at the off-field behavior of NFL players shows they’re overwhelmingly a responsible, law-abiding bunch. NFL players are far less likely than others in their age/gender cohort to do the kinds of things that run afoul of the law.

Goodell’s personal conduct policy is aimed at correcting player behavior. But the issue isn’t the behavior itself, but the perception. And, with his strong-arm policy and “I’m gonna control of this situation” approach, he’s actually exacerbating that perception problem.

By creating a Big Solution, Goodell (and the league’s owners) feed the perception that player behavior is a Big Problem. It’s not. There are individual problems that can be addressed, but a few isolated incidents don’t require a codified system of justice — we have a court system for that.

Now, the perception problem wouldn’t have been easily fixed. The league has data on its side, but narratives are often immune to facts. And, the perception is fueled in part by the reality that the majority of players are black, and automatically seen as “other” to a significant portion of the white majority in this country.

However, the NFL also has big advantages in countering a perception problem, such as powerful media partners and friendly reporters who would happily publish a story the league wants.

The new policy isn’t all bad. The provision that allows for a paid leave of absence when a player is charged with a violent crime is good. And, I think it’s a good thing to convene experts to find ways of reducing incidents of domestic violence among the league’s players.

But, the NFL is unilaterally implementing its own justice system — without consulting the players union. They’re attempting to codify punishments for certain actions, but will inevitably misjudge and overlook key factors. No matter how many experts they bring together, they just can’t think of everything. And what they can’t think of will come back and bite them in ways they can’t imagine.

More to the point: even the most perfect, ironclad, no-holes personal conduct policy is doomed to fail because the league’s problem is the perception of player conduct, not the actual conduct of the the vast majority of its players. A more stringent policy serves only to heighten the perception that players are out of control. So when the next big incident happens (and it will, because players are human), the storm will only be worse because it’ll have the additional boost of…See, NOTHING can get these guys to act right.

The players aren’t the problem, and its a damn shame their employers seem unaware of this fact.

Wizards Update: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


Over the past week, the Wizards rolled to convincing wins over the hapless Lakers and the not-awful Nuggets, and then lost a shoulda-won game against a middling Celtics squad. And, in the grand tradition of players having good games shortly after I rip them, Kevin Seraphin had probably his best game of the year against Denver.

Meanwhile, John Wall climbed into a tie with Rajon Rondo for having the biggest defensive impact for a point guard in my rating system. Wall shows up in my numbers as having the biggest defensive impact on the Wizards so far this season. Not bad for a guy who I still think has room for improvement on the defensive end.

Other positive defenders: Marcin Gortat, Nenê, Kris Humphries, and Garrett Temple.

The “about average” grouping includes: Otto Porter, Rasual Butler and Paul Pierce. Pierce, had gotten off to an excellent start defensively, but his individual performance seems to have slipped a bit over the past couple weeks.

Bradley Beal and Drew Gooden are in the “bad defensive impact” category so far. Kevin Seraphin and Andre Miller are defensive dumpster fires to this point in the year.

Below is the Player Production Average (PPA) update. PPA is an overall rating stat I developed that credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt the cause. PPA is per-minute, pace neutral, accounts for defense, and includes a “degree of difficulty” factor based on the level of competition a player faces while on the floor. In PPA, 100 = average, higher is better and replacement level is 45.

PLAYER GMS MPG 10-Nov 18-Nov 24-Nov 3-Dec PPA
Marcin Gortat 19 30.5 181 186 170 175 179
John Wall 19 35.3 185 180 180 168 167
Rasual Butler 15 20.3 60 131 116 128 155
Paul Pierce 19 26.6 140 138 165 134 134
Kris Humphries 18 19.7 46 87 90 82 109
Andre Miller 19 12.6 72 69 92 103 102
Garrett Temple 17 20.2 121 112 96 100 98
Otto Porter 18 21.9 97 106 101 95 84
Nene Hilario 13 25.5 108 102 68 67 83
Bradley Beal 10 30.4 122 63 69
Drew Gooden 12 17.3 42 40 59 78 64
Kevin Seraphin 18 15.2 38 13 17 12 28
DeJuan Blair 6 5.7 -41 -40 -40 -74 -56
Glen Rice 5 8.6 -120 -117 -117 -117 -114

The first thing I wondered about when perusing the table above was the lack of change in Wall’s PPA. My feeling was that he had a terrific week. But, the game log shows that he shoot poorly (efg of just .395) and that he committed 14 turnovers.

Rasual Butler had another week of outlandishly good shooting. In non-shooting categories, Butler’s numbers are all within established career norms. So far in Washington, he’s shooting .579 from 2pt range (vs. a career average of .435), and .545 from 3pt range (vs. a career average of .364).

I know fans want to attribute this to The Wall Effect, but a) only about half Butler’s minutes have been with Wall; b) he’s shooting with outlandish accuracy (and more often) when Wall’s on the bench; and c) his shooting numbers in Indiana last season were also significantly better than his previous career norms.

Butler efg usg
with Wall .765 13.8%
w/o Wall .700 20.3%

It may simply be that Butler worked hard and improved his shooting late in his career. And, it may be that he’s ripe for a regression. Sample sizes are still small: just 304 minutes and 112 shot attempts so far this season.

I’d like to see the Wizards continue to start Humprhies and bring Nenê off the bench. The starting lineup doesn’t appear to have suffered with the change, which isn’t surprising considering how little Nenê was producing. I suspect Nenê’s production will improve going against bench bigs. And, bringing him off the bench, gives the coaching staff options at PF and C, which means they can drop Seraphin from the rotation.

Despite the loss to Boston, the week was a positive one for the Wizards. Good teams win games convincingly. They don’t necessarily have the best record in close games, because they often avoid close games in the first place. That Washington won three in a row (including the win against Miami) by double digits may be a marker of the team getting stronger.

Wizards Update: Just the Numbers


No time today, so straight to the numbers.

Well, sorta. Could we please stop imagining that Kevin Seraphin is a good or even useful NBA player? This is probably as good a defense of Seraphin as could possibly be written, and it’s still woefully misguided and erroneous in its conclusions. Seraphin may have a good hook shot, but he’s not a good scorer. He’s also a bad rebounder and a defensive liability. The Wizards may insist on playing him for some reason, but they’ll be better when they replace him with a decent NBA player.

Below is the Player Production Average (PPA) update. PPA is an overall rating stat I developed that credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt the cause. PPA is per-minute, pace neutral, accounts for defense, and includes a “degree of difficulty” factor based on the level of competition a player faces while on the floor. In PPA, 100 = average, higher is better and replacement level is 45.

PLAYER GMS MPG 10-Nov 18-Nov 24-Nov PPA
Marcin Gortat 16 30.9 181 186 170 175
John Wall 16 35.3 185 180 180 168
Paul Pierce 16 26.9 140 138 165 134
Rasual Butler 12 18.5 60 131 116 128
Andre Miller 16 12.9 72 69 92 103
Garrett Temple 15 22.6 121 112 96 100
Otto Porter 15 23.2 97 106 101 95
Kris Humphries 15 17.8 46 87 90 82
Drew Gooden 11 17.4 42 40 59 78
Nene Hilario 11 27.1 108 102 68 67
Bradley Beal 7 29.4 122 63
Kevin Seraphin 15 15.1 38 13 17 12
DeJuan Blair 5 6.0 -41 -40 -40 -74
Glen Rice 5 8.6 -120 -117 -117 -117