Jan 12, 2012

Plumbing the Depths

Editor's Note: The Wiz are setting franchise records left and right, so we thought we'd get in on the fun. Please welcome ZardsALards! first EVER guest author, Cap City. Cap drops by to share his thoughts on blips, blimps, and pace factors. Enjoy.

Besides the Kiss Cam (and the inevitable awkward focus on two people who don't know each other and exchange an extremely reluctant peck on the cheek), my favorite aspect of Wizards games has become the Michael & Son blimp that hovers above the court, impairing views (if you bought upper deck tickets through Groupon) and inviting the question, who exactly are Michael and Son?

The Michael and Son Blimp looks something like this, only much smaller, in the shape of a truck, and without Nazi insignia. It looks nothing like this.
M & S turns out to be an Alexandria-based home repair company expected to do $28 million worth of work in the DC area this year. They also advertise at Caps games (on the Zamboni). Interestingly, while people will be paying Basim Mansour (owner and "Son") $28 million to make a positive visual and foundational change to their property, Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld will be paying Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche a combined $27.58 million for the 2011-2012 season of the National Basketball Association. I won't focus on Rashard, as he is undoubtedly worth every penny of his salary and continues to lead by example both on and off the court, and I feel bad going after Andray, as he has already gotten his share of criticism this year. 

Instead, I will examine the overall offensive ineptitude the Wizards have shown this year, a trend which will hopefully be a short blip but which so far looks alarmingly like a much larger and more offensively inept blip. Ten games may not be enough to tell the true character and talent of a team, but it certainly has been enough to cause snickers around the league, and probably eliminate any reasonable hope for the playoffs in a shortened season. By any measure, the Wiz are horrendous at making a basketball go through a circular piece of metal, but closer examination reveals some interesting numbers. 

"Pace factor" measures whether a team plays fast or slow by tallying how many possessions they average per game. The Wizards sit 13th in the league right now, meaning they play a hair faster than the average squad. More possessions generally equals more points, but here is where the astute NBA observer will pause and wonder, how efficiently are those points being had? The Wiz sit dead last in offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) at 87.8. To put this in perspective, that is three points worse than the closest team (Detroit) and 20 points fewer than Oklahoma City, which actually plays a slower, but wildly more effective, brand of basketball than we do. Of the 12 teams we rank behind in pace, none averages less than 94 points per 100 possessions. Eight average at least 10 points per 100 possessions more than us. And we don't just look bad compared to our contemporaries. If the Wizards end the year scoring at their current clip, it will be the worst offensive season in the history of the NBA.

If there is a silver lining to our 1-9 start, it is that the defense is actually decent, clocking in just above the league average. This means that if we can manage to put the ball in the basket, we could be in a position to beat some teams. This of course depends on John Wall developing a jump shot, Blatche NOT shooting his jump shot, getting Jordan Crawford (who I actually heard our announcers refer to as a star against the Bulls) off the floor, and any our starters besides JaVale shooting better than 40% from the field. Since Nick Young is a career 43% shooter, Andray 46%, and Rashard 45.5%, I don't foresee this historic level of ineptitude continuing. With three games against Philly coming up in the next seven, and matchups with the Thunder and Celtics sprinkled in between, it could be a rough stretch, but also a definite chance for improvement and a couple quality wins.

1 comment:

  1. apologies for not commenting sooner that the blimp caption is one of the best i've seen in a long time