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Looking at the Wizards after 20 games, both the good and the bad, by the numbers

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Looking at the Wizards after 20 games, both the good and the bad, by the numbers

With 82 games in the NBA regular season, there is no natural quarter-mark, but 20 games seems like a good time to step back and draw some early season conclusions.

The Wizards are just above .500 at 11-9 and have played four of those games without star point guard John Wall.

Here are some numbers to consider in what we have seen from the Wizards and their players so far...


Though the Wizards currently have the 12th-best record in the NBA and the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference, there is one metric that suggests they have been much better.

It's called the simple rating system and it's involves point differential and strength of schedule.

The Wizards have been 2.93 points above average, which is good for seventh in the NBA. This is partly the result of the Wizards folding late in some winnable games. They know their record could be better than what it is and the stats back that up.


Here's the Wall effect, an indication of his absence and also how he hasn't been the same player in many games this season, most likely due to injuries.

The Wizards are 15th in the NBA with 10.4 fastbreak points per game. That is average, but very low compared to where they are used to being.

Last season they were fifth in the NBA in fastbreak points at 15.9 per game.



No one in the NBA this year has been better at contesting three-point shots than Bradley Beal. He's got 102 on the season, 13 more than the next guy, Victor Oladipo. And his 5.1 contested threes per game average is also best in the game.

When head coach Scott Brooks complains about guys closing out on threes on defense, he isn't talking about Beal.


The Wizards are an average team when it comes to drawing charges, but backup point guard Tim Frazier ranks up near the top of the NBA as an individual.

With six charges drawn so far through 20 games, he's tied for eighth in the NBA. He's the smallest guy on the Wizards, so it's nothing to sneeze at. The guy is tough.

2.45 and 2.48

Not surprisingly, Beal and Otto Porter do more running per game than anyone else on the Wizards. When the Wizards are in their halfcourt set, it's Beal and Porter who move most without the ball. They also guard active players on defense and are expected to keep up with John Wall on the fastbreak.

Beal runs 2.45 miles per game and Porter 2.48. Porter is 14th in the NBA in the category and Beal is 21st.


The NBA's tracking technology for average speed always produces interesting results because it is not simply about who is the fastest player.

It is largely determined by that player's role on both ends of the floor. For instance, Wall has the slowest average speed on the Wizards at 3.72 miles per hour.

Tomas Satoransky, believe it or not, is the fastest at 4.62. And Jason Smith is second at 4.53. If it seems like Smith is always moving on the court, your eyes are not lying to you.



For a variety of reasons, Beal has seen a sharp decrease in catch-and-shoot opportunities this season. Last year he was seventh among NBA players in catch-and-shoot points (7.0/g) and 11th in catch-and-shoot attempts (5.6/g). He shot 44.2 percent on those shots.

This season he's shooting just 37.1 percent on those chances, ranks 59th in the NBA at 4.8 catch-and-shoot points per game and 46th with 4.5 attempts per game.

This is likely a product of teams defending him differently, the absence of Wall for four games and his continue development at attacking the rim.


Here is evidence of Beal's progression as a ball-handler.

He is now averaging 10.4 drives per game. Last year he was at 6.4 drives per game. He's attempting 5.4 shots on drives this season, good for 13th in the NBA. Last year he was taking 3.3 such shots per game, 37th among NBA players.

After scoring 4.5 points on drives per game last year, he's getting 7.1 this season. Two years ago, in the 2015-16 season, Beal was getting 3.9 points on drives per game.

He has almost doubled that output.


By now many people know that Marcin Gortat is very good at setting screens and is among the best at getting screen assists because of it.

He leads the NBA with 5.6 screen assists per game. The Wizards as a team are also very good. With 10.7 screen assists per game, they are third in the NBA.


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Wizards hope meeting between superstar backcourt can jumpstart Bradley Beal's playoff production

Wizards hope meeting between superstar backcourt can jumpstart Bradley Beal's playoff production

With an 0-2 deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Raptors, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks called for a meeting with his two All-Star guards once his team returned to Washington. Brooks met with John Wall and Bradley Beal, hoping to solve an issue that plagued them particularly in Game 2, a blowout loss.

Brooks is intent on getting more out of Beal offensively and since Wall is the quarterback of their offense, it made sense to have him present. After Beal scored nine points and shot just 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from three, it is clear to Brooks that the Wizards need more to climb back in this series.

"We need to have Brad play well. It's no secret that you need your best players to step up and play well," Brooks said.

Both Brooks and Wall, who each spoke after Thursday's practice, said Beal needs to be more assertive in the offense. Beal averaged 28.8 points against the Raptors through four regular season games and Wall did not play in any of them. In theory, things should be easier for him now with another star player drawing attention.

That has not been the case, however. Beal is averaging 14.0 points through two games while shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three. 

Even if his shot isn't falling, the Wizards want Beal to force the issue.

"I feel like I tell him at times that he needs to be more aggressive. Be more aggressive and look for your shot," Wall said. "He even says it that he has to be more aggressive himself. Even if he's missing or making shots. That's how he's been all season. We need that same type of player, to be aggressive and get at least 20 shots or more per game. That's when our team is probably at our best."

Beal has been limited to 14 shots per game by the Raptors when he averaged 18.1 during the regular season. Wall said he and Beal often talk within games about how Beal would like to be set up and the meeting with Brooks involved some of that dialogue.

While Beal's struggles stand out, the same could be said for Otto Porter, the Wizards' third-leading scorer. Porter was held to 12 points in Game 2 and did not attempt a single three-pointer. For a guy who finished third in the NBA in three-point percentage (44.1), that is difficult to justify.

Like Beal, the Wizards need Porter to impose his will a bit more and according to Brooks, the right lower leg strain he suffered late in the regular season is not to blame.

"He's 100 percent healthy," Brooks said. "It's always been a little bit of a problem. We want Otto to be more aggressive. We gotta run some more plays for him and the defense has done a good job on him. We need him to play well."

Like Beal, Porter had success against Toronto in the regular season. He averaged 18.5 points on 59.2 percent shooting, including a 24-point game on March 2. 

The Wizards need Beal and Porter to step up, knowing the series could hinge on if they do.





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Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

The biggest surprise of the Wizards-Raptors series through two games, at least from Washington's perspective, has to be the fact Ty Lawson has very quickly earned a prominent role in Scott Brooks' playoff rotation.

Lawson, 30, was signed the day after the regular season and after he played much of 2017-18 in China with the Shandong Golden Stars. He did not appear in one game with the Wizards or any other NBA team during the regular season, yet he was the first point guard off the bench in Game 2.

When John Wall picked up two quick fouls, it was Lawson who got the nod, not Tomas Satoransky. Lawson ended up playing 31 minutes, more than Satoransky and fellow backup point guard Tim Frazier have earned combined through two games.

Though the Wizards had three point guards on their bench behind Wall before Lawson even signed, he has apparently surpassed them all on the depth chart. Satoransky is the most surprising, given he played quite well during the regular season.

Satoransky averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 assists and shot a team-best 46.5 percent from three. He had the highest offensive rating (124) on the team.

Lawson, though, played quite well in Game 2. He put up 14 points, eight assists and three rebounds while shooting 4-for-5 from three.

Lawson outscored four of the Wizards' five starters. Not bad for his first game.

"He did everything I knew he was capable of doing," Brooks said. "I’ve seen him do it for many, many years. He’s tough, he’s a competitor. He competes and pushes the pace. He plays defense. I liked the spirit."

Lawson provided a noticeable spark. He is still quick and aggressive with the ball, not afraid to look for his own shot, and played physical defense against the Raptors. Lawson ended the night plus-8 in the box score in a game the Wizards lost by 11.

"It’s good to see him get into a game and be able to produce for us," guard Bradley Beal said.

Given the Wizards lost Game 2 and face an 0-2 deficit in their series, it is likely that Brooks continues to alter his rotation in the coming games. He could go back to Satoransky more often, knowing he had some solid games against Toronto in the regular season, including on March 2 when he had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Satoransky could see more time at shooting guard or small forward and could play alongside Lawson. That might be Satoransky's best bet because Lawson did nothing in Game 2 to squander the opportunity.

For a team whose effort has been questioned by their head coach, Lawson's energy and urgency was noteworthy. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his NBA career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season. 

Clearly, the way Lawson played was refreshing for Brooks given how long he kept him out on the floor. He may have come out of nowhere, but it looks like Lawson is here to stay.




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