The Wizards’ season ended last week on a mixed note depending on whether you were rooting for the Wizards to win and give some positive reinforcement to the young players, or lose and be in a better position for a draft (a draft which every day looks like it will have fewer impact players). Looking back at the team’s performance this season, it’s important to consider it in the context of rebuilding, and how their young players developed. That means wins and losses mean less than individual improvement (it’s also not really fair to compare this season to last season because as bad as they were last year, they still had a half season of Arenas, Jamison and Butler). Next week, I’ll look at the individual players, but this week I’m looking at how the team did overall.
Bad: As a team, Washington’s offensive and defensive effectiveness was just plain bad (28th in offensive rating and 24th in defensive rating) and it’s tough to win games when you are, on average, at least three possessions away from winning every game (29th in the league with an average margin of victory of -7). While they loved to shoot the ball (fifth-most field goal attempts in the league), they did not feel nearly as enthusiastic about making them (29th in effective FG percentage). The bad shooting can’t be blamed on not getting fouls called as the Wizards actually shot the 12th-most free throws in the league.
While the Wizards were also bad at shooting three pointers (28th in three point percentage) they at least didn’t take many of them (27th in the league). Despite having John Wall finish tied for sixth in in the league in assists per game, they were the second worst team overall in assists, which meant that most of the other players didn’t like to share (McGee, Jianlian and Young were among the worst at their respective positions in assist percentage).
Befitting a young and inexperienced team, they finished second in the league in fouls committed. The Wizards also gave up the fifth-most assists per game, which means their opponents were able to run their offense and take shots in the flow of it.
Good: As a result of all of that bad shooting, the Wizards had plenty of opportunities for offensive rebounding and they took advantage (third in the league) which helped make them league average in rebounding overall (15th in the league). While the Wizards defense was not really successful in keeping their opponents from scoring, they were very active, finishing fifth in the league in steals and first in blocked shots while forcing the third-most turnovers in the league. Despite committing the fifth-most turnovers in the league themselves, the Wizards actually forced more than they committed. As bad as this team played this season, the fans also continued to show up (how many were there for the other team is always a touchy subject), but the Wizards managed to finish 17th in attendance, ahead of five playoff teams.