At Least That Redskins Game Was Fun
It is fortunate that advanced, stat-based, objective analysis has become more popular in NBA circles. Without insights from these relatively new methods of investigation, we would have no way of identifying who the worst team in the league is with any certainty. Old-fashioned metrics like win/loss record, the eye test, and level of nausea for fans attending games would never let us know that *drumroll* the Washington Wizards are the worst team in the NBA. While you’re recovering from your shock, please read on to learn some of the keys of tonight’s Heat/Wizards game.
At this moment, it is not clear as to whether Shane Battier will be ready to play for tonight’s game. Heat fans should hope that he is unless Miami wants to continue its streak of looking unimpressive against weak competition. Recently, I’ve detailed that Shane Battier is key to the defense of the Heat, as they allow 7 more points per 100 possessions with him off the court than on it. Particularly bad is the lineup they’ve been starting in Battier’s absence. The group of Chalmers, Wade, Lebron, Lewis, and Bosh is among the least impressive the Heat have used for this much time. In 35 minutes, this lineup has allowed scoring at a rate of 119 points per 100 possessions, per 82games.com, as opposed to 98 points per 100 possessions when Battier is used instead. While it’s not a huge sample size, it’s not exactly comforting.
Of course, if there was a game in which it would be appropriate to play a subpar group of defenders, this would be the game. The Wizards have the worst offense in the league by a pretty good margin, with an offensive efficiency of 96 points per 100 possessions. The best defense in the league, the Grizzlies, allows scoring at a rate of 99 points per 100 possessions. An average night for the Wizards is a full three points per 100 possessions worse than an average team playing against the toughest defense in the league. This is ugly basketball.
Typically, stat-heads aren’t huge fans of per game player stats. They don’t account for team pace or minutes played, so often times they can be misleading, but just for fun I’ll make an exception. The Wizards leading scorer is Jordan Crawford, who is currently averaging 13.1 points per game. Lebron, Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen all eclipse this mark. Enjoy.