The Wizards made five trades this season from October to February. If the trade deadline was later than Feb. 7, they probably would have made more. They really like trades.
All of those moves have put head coach Scott Brooks in a weird spot. Over and over this season, he has had to incorporate new players, whether they came from trades, the G-League or 10-day contracts.
The latest installment has existed for 13 games. That's when they inserted Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Wesley Johnson into the mix after a pair of deals on Feb. 6 brought them to Washington. Along the way, rookie Troy Brown Jr. also cracked the rotation, earning some consistent playing time for the first time all season.
These 13 games have produced a mixed bag. They are 6-7, the exact same record they had in the previous 13 games.
So, what exactly has changed? Well, a lot more than the record would suggest.
They are better at some things and worse at others. The biggest improvements have been in rebounding, three-point defense and with their offense overall. They still can't defend or stop opponents from getting offensive rebounds, but their offense has reached a new level.
First, the rebounding. The Wizards were 28th in the NBA in the category before the trades and are 15th since, with 4.6 more boards per game. Portis (9.4 rpg) and Parker (6.8 rpg) have led the Wizards on the glass.
Portis, who had 13 boards on Monday night in their win over the Kings, has been the Wizards' best rebounder this season. He's averaging more than Dwight Howard did in his nine-game stint (9.2) and already has as many double-digit rebounding games (seven) as Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris did this season with the Wizards combined. Porter and Morris, of course, were the guys who left in the Feb. 6 trades.
Three-point defense has been a major issue for the Wizards this year, but lately that has not been the case. Surely, it could be coincidental or misleading based on the sample size, but the numbers are worth pointing out.
Before the addition of Parker and Portis, the Wizards were dead-last in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage (37.7). Since, they are seventh-best, holding teams to just 33.3 percent from long range. That's exactly what the Kings shot on Monday, as they went 9-for-27 from the perimeter.
Overall, however, the Wizards have been markedly worse on defense. They are giving up 2.8 more points per game and are forcing 3.1 fewer turnovers per contest. The Wizards previously were second-best in the NBA in forcing turnovers. Now, they are a mediocre 17th. They are also giving up 7.2 more points in the paint per game and rank last in the NBA in the category.
The biggest difference between the pre-Parker and Portis Wizards and them now is their offense. The Wizards were about average offensively before the deals, but since have been supercharged.
They are playing much faster, for one. Their 104.85 pace factor (possessions per 48 minutes) is third in the NBA over the past 13 games. It would lead the league if held over the full season and would be the fastest pace since the 1990-91 Denver Nuggets.
Again, small sample size, but the Wizards are really pushing the ball. Parker and Portis are faster than their predecessors, Porter and Morris, and it shows. Parker, in particular, has added a new element by leading the fastbreak as a point-forward.
Now, that speed has led to some mistakes, particularly from Parker. The Wizards lead the NBA in turnovers with 15.8 per game since the trades. They were previously pretty good at protecting the ball, ranking 11th in the NBA with 14 turnovers per game.
The added pace does have some advantages, however. Since Parker and Portis were acquired, the Wizards lead the NBA in effective field goal percentage (55.1) when they were previously 11th. They lead the NBA in assists per game (29.5) when before they were seventh. And their offensive rating has gone up from 109.2 (16th) to 113.3 (fifth).
That has led to a big improvement in net rating. They were 24th at -3.0, but are now 14th at a barely-positive +0.4. That's a 3.4-point swing.
Rebounding and three-point defense have been some of the Wizards' most glaring weaknesses this season. So far with Parker and Portis, they have shown moderate improvement.
But more than anything, they have become a legitimate run-and-gun offense. It hasn't necessarily translated into more wins, but maybe that will come next.
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