If you thought last season’s horrific start by the Washington Wizards couldn’t be duplicated, think again. Through their first three games of the years, the Wizards have been even worse than they were last year.
Ortg = points scored per 100 possessions
Drtg = points allowed per 100 possessions
Diff = ortg – drtg (scoring/efficiency differential is a better measure of team strength than a team’s record)
PytW82 = “Diff” translated into projected wins if that differential was maintained over an 82-game schedule
As you can see from the table above, the Wizards have been 10.4 points per 100 possessions better offensively this season than last, BUT they’ve been 13.0 points per 100 possessions worse on defense. The net result: through three games, they’re -3.0 in efficiency differential — a change of 4.4 wins over the course of a full season.
Last season, the team was missing PG John Wall. This year, they’re missing both Nene and Emeka Okafor — two of the team’s more important defenders last season. Marcin Gortat, an adequate defender at best, has been slow to grasp the team’s defensive scheme.
Unfortunately, there probably aren’t any quick fixes to the defense. The team emphasized that end of the court during training camp, but it’s challenging to overcome the loss of quality defensive big men — they’re the linchpin of every good defense in the NBA.
Which, of course, leads to the obvious question: Why did the Wizards go through an offseason without addressing the critical need for depth behind its 30+ year old front line?
Which, of course, leads to another obvious question: Why does Ted Leonsis continue to let Ernie Grunfeld run his basketball team?