Numbers crunch: Wall is elite; Wizards' mid-range accuracy isn't

Numbers crunch: Wall is elite; Wizards' mid-range accuracy isn't
December 5, 2013, 11:30 am
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Otto Porter nearing Wizards debut

Washington Wizards power forward Nene Hilario (42) celebrates with Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) against the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 116-111.

(Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

After 18 games and a full month being complete, here is where the Wizards (9-9) stand in key categories as they stand at .500 for the first time since 2009. All data was broken down using the NBA's advanced statistics and player tracking cameras through Wednesday's games: 

Crunch time

In the last two minutes of games when ahead or behind in a one-possession game (three points or fewer):

  • Record: 4-4
  • FG percentage: 46.7 
  • 3-point percentage: 45.5

The upside for the Wizards is that those percentages are an increase of what they shoot overall, which is 44.7 percent, including 40 percent from three.

The downside is the results, a .500 record in these situations, don't reflect that improvement. By comparison, the Portland Trail Blazers are 7-0, Memphis Grizzlies 6-0, Oklahoma City Thunder 6-2, Philadelphia 76ers 6-2 and Los Angeles Clippers 6-3 and Indiana Pacers 4-1. Only the Sixers don't have a winning record.

Surprisingly, the Charlotte Bobcats are 5-2, Cleveland Cavaliers 5-3, San Antonio Spurs 4-2, Denver Nuggets 5-2, Miami Heat just 3-3, Phoenix Suns 1-5, New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves 1-6.

The reason the Wizards don't have a better record in games this close can be traced to the defensive end, which was a major problem when they lost seven of their first nine games to start the season.

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In those eight games against the Wizards, the opposition shoots 36.7 percent in those final two minutes. Sounds good, right? Hold a team to that level of shooting for four quarters and you will win most. Actually, it's pretty mediocre. The Blazers hold opponents to 16.7 percent; Heat 15.4; Nuggets 16; Clippers 17.6; Pacers 20; Memphis 20; 76ers 21.4; and Los Angeles Lakers. 

Finishing less than 5 feet from the rim

This is where the Wizards have excelled, and credit the addition of Marcin Gortat for having a lot to do with it.

They've made 288 of 466 field goals from this distance for 61.8 percent which is fourth in the NBA. Last season, the Wizards finished just 25th by making 1,117 of 1,995 for 56 percent.

This season, the Heat are the best at 66.7 percent.

Notice, however, that the Wizards' accuracy dips in the mid-range but rises the farther away from the basket.

5-9 feet

  • Shooting 34.8 percent, or 40 of 115, which is 23rd. Last season, the Wizards were No. 1 overall by making 342 of 785 for 43.6 percent

10-14 feet

  • Shooting 38.1 percent, or 48 of 126, which is 18th. Last season, they were at 36.6 percent, 260 of 711, for 25th

15-19 feet

  • Shooting 35 percent, 107 of 306, which is 26th. Last year, they were 25th in making 509 of 1352 for 37.6 percent

20-24 feet

  • Shooting 39.3 percent, making 118 of 300, good for 13th. Last season, it was 40.3 percent, 440 of 1091, for fifth-best. 

25-29 feet

  • Shooting 70 of 180 for 38.9 percent, fifth-best. Compare that to last season's 25th ranking when they were 33.1 percent , 240 of 725. 

Sharing the ball

The Wizards are sixth overall in assists at 23.7 per game. Look at the company they're in: The Spurs are No. 1 at 24.8, Clippers 24.7 and Heat 24.3.

But when it comes to simply passing, the results are more striking. There's a major separation between the top two players and the rest of the field. And one of those players is John Wall.

A look at the total number of passes a player makes and the scoring opportunities that come from those passes, whether they lead directly to a basket or free throw, or if its a "hockey assist" that sets up another teammate to get the actual credit for the assist:

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  • Wall is second in the NBA only to Chris Paul (Clippers). He is tied with him at No. 1 in secondary assists at 2.2. Wall passes 73.8 times per game compared with Paul's 74.2. Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves) dishes it 71.1. 
  • In terms of points created by assists per game, Wall is at 22.2 which is second to Paul's 26.8

Look where other players, some of them All-Stars, stack up with Wall, who has yet to be selected in his fourth season: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) 19.9; Ty Lawson (Nuggets) 19.4; Jrue Holiday (N.O. Pelicans) 18.2; Michael Carter-Williams (76ers) 17.1; Tony Parker (Spurs) 14.5; Mike Conley (Grizzlies) 14.5; Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets) 13.9; Kyrie Irving (Cavs) 13.6; and Russell Westbrook (Thunder) 13.2.

Catch and shoot

This is characterized by any jump shot taken outside of 10 feet where a player possesses the ball for two seconds or less and didn't take a dribble.

The Wizards have three players in the top 10:

  • Bradley Beal is third with 9.0 points per game on catch-and-shoot. He's shooting 43.3% in those situations, and from three-point range his efficiency rises to 47.1 percent
  • Trevor Ariza is sixth with 8.4 per game, shooting 46.3 percent overall. From three-point range, he, too, is slightly better at 47.1 percent, tied with Beal
  • Martell Webster is ninth with 7.6 per game, shooting 42.3 percent overall. On three-pointers, he's at 40.8

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