In a season already filled with some ignominious distinctions, the 2011-12 Wizards can now say that they have bumped Michael Jordan from the record books. Of course, it wasn’t quite a record that Jordan would want attached to his legendary career.
In the city where Jordan built his esteemed legacy, the Wizards set a new franchise-record for scoring futility with just 64 points, shot a horrific 31 percent and went scoreless for the final five minutes of a 14-point loss at United Center.
“We had open looks. We just didn’t knock them down,” Trevor Booker said after the Wizards dropped to 1-9 with a 78-64 loss to the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls. “I guess it was just one of those nights.”
Going into Wednesday’s game, the Wizards had never put together a more awful offensive performance than what Jordan’s Wizards did on Dec. 13, 2002, when they scored just 65 points in a 14-point loss to the New Jersey Nets.
Jordan and Jerry Stackhouse combined to go 10-for-38 on that night in East Rutherford, N.J., in another forgettable performance in Jordan’s unremarkable last season in Washington and the NBA. On Wednesday, another Jordan – Jordan Crawford – led the Wizards in scoring with just 14 points on 4 of 12 shooting.
Oddly enough, Crawford was 3 of 4 from beyond the three-point line, accounting for half of the three-pointers made by both teams in a disgusting, lockout-created performance between a team on the second end of a back-to-back games and another playing its third game in three nights.
“Bulls are a good team and they are a good defensive team. They was playing good D. We also missed some shots, but we ain’t worried about it,” Crawford said. “We are playing D. Once we start making shots, then we’ll be really hard to play against.”
The problem for the Wizards is that they aren’t making shots this season. Ten games in, the Wizards are the only team in the NBA shooting below 40 percent from the floor. They are a league-worst 39.7 percent, and an even worse 36.7 percent on the road. Rookie Chris Singleton was the only player on the court to make more than half of his shots in Chicago, and he was 4 for 7 for just eight points.
According to Basketball Reference, the Wizards are the least efficient offense in NBA history, producing just 90.6 points every 100 possessions. They are on pace to obliterate the previous low mark of 92.2 points produced per 100 possessions shared by the 17-win Denver Nuggets in 2002-03 and the 23-win New York Knicks in 1976-77.
With Andray Blatche out with a sore right shoulder, Nick Young was expected to assume more of the offensive load. But he continued his struggles since moving into the starting lineup. He scored just five points, which would’ve been a season low if he hadn’t already had a three-point game in Milwaukee in his first start of the season.
In his past eight starts, Young is averaging 13.3 points and shooting just 34.2 percent (39 of 114) from the field. The only nights he has had anything going were against New York and Toronto, when he combined to score 40 points.
“I really haven’t had a good shooting night, the whole 10 games,” Young said, forgetting about his first two games, in which he scored 37 points on 57.1 percent shooting. “Just got to find, get people in spots where they need to be in and are most dangerous and go from there. Just got to hit the gym, put some shots up.”
John Wall had two impressive dunks, but still finished just 4 of 13 from the floor, continuing his season-long shooting struggles. He has the second-worst shooting percentage of players who qualify in that category at 33.8 percent.
“Sometimes it’s going to be those nights we’re not going to make those shots,” Wall said. “I missed a couple of easy layups and some mid-range shots. I try to be as aggressive as I can be. That’s my job, to make sure everybody else is good.”
The Wizards are now averaging 83.6 points per game, and if not for Detroit, they would be the lowest-scoring team in the NBA. They still maintained their season average for fast break points with 17 – but imagine how awful the final score would’ve been had they been unable to get out on the run.
Shelvin Mack has seen worse. He was on the Butler squad that set an NCAA record for the worst shooting percentage in a title game (18.8 percent), as his Bulldogs missed 52 of 64 against Connecticut last April.
Asked if the performance in Chicago brought back memories of that night, Mack said, “A little bit. Kind of. That national championship game was weird. We was still in the [Chicago] game because we played defense. Things just have to improve on offense. Our defense is doing its job. We just have to make sure we get some extra shots up and make sure we’re ready to shoot when the game comes.”