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Wizards Beal Continues Improvement


You know that story about how the Wizards have improved because of John Wall. Consider the chart below: data courtesy, Evan Zamir and

Since 1/12/13 ORTG  DRTG  NET 
with Wall 102.6  99.9  +2.7 
without Wall 104.2 101.2  +3.0 
ORTG = offensive rating -- points scored per 100 possessions

DRTG = defensive rating -- points allowed per 100 possessions

The Wizards have been better, but they've been just as good when he's off the floor as they've been when he's been in the lineup.

A look at how individual players have performed with and without Wall since January 12 is interesting. Eleven players have received playing time with Wall. I'll divide the players into three categories: Less Efficient with Wall; About the Same with and without Wall; and More Efficient with Wall.

Less Efficient with Wall

  • A.J. Price
  • Garrett Temple
  • Jan Vesely
  • Kevin Seraphin
  • Trevor Booker

About the Same with and without Wall

  • Bradley Beal
  • Martell Webster

More Efficient with Wall

  • Chris Singleton
  • Emeka Okafor
  • Nene
  • Trevor Ariza

The sample sizes with Wall are tiny for Price and Vesely. In the "more efficient" group, the numbers show that three of the four get assisted more frequently when Wall is on the floor. For Singleton, it's a whopping difference (65% of his baskets have been assisted when playing with Wall; just 40% when Wall's been on the bench). For Okafor and Nene, the "assisted percentage" is higher with Wall, but not by a large amount. For Ariza, it's about the same (about 3% lower when on the floor with Wall).

The players that interest me most are Beal and Webster -- the team's most improved players over the course of the season. Both shoot about the same percentage with and without Wall, although Beal's "assisted percentage" is up slightly (about 5%), while Webster's is about the same (down 2%).

I'm not going too much deeper in the weeds in analyzing on/off effects because the further into the details, the smaller each sample size becomes. The data compiled since Wall's return would suggest to me he's had a fairly modest effect on the team. This would jibe with my own ratings of Wall, which show him to be a solidly below average performer this season.

Overall, since January 12, the Wizards have benefited from a significant upgrade at point guard -- but that's a reflection of A) how crummy the PGs were while both Price and Wall were out; and B) the solid play of Price. The team has also benefited from improved play by Beal, Webster and Okafor. Neither Beal nor Webster appear to be "made better" by Wall.

You can bet I'll be returning to this subject as the season continues.

Until then, here's my weekly update on the Wizards using my own rating stat, Player Production Average (PPA). PPA is a per minute stat I researched and developed that credits a player for things that help a team win and debits him for things that don't. PPA is adjusted for pace, accounts for defense, and includes a "degree of difficulty" factor based on the quality of competition a player faces during his minutes on the floor. In PPA 100 = average, higher is better, and replacement level is 45.

Emeka Okafor 58  26.1  145  149 
Nene 43  27.2  120 120 
Martell Webster 57  28.3  111 115 
Trevor Ariza 41  25.5  107 107 
Bradley Beal 51  31.9  88 97 
A.J. Price 42  22.6  89 93 
John Wall 25  29.6  82 81 
Trevor Booker 25  17.4  88 81 
Cartier Martin 23  17.6  62  62 
Garrett Temple 27  16.8  51  55 
Chris Singleton 42  16.2  48 36 
Kevin Seraphin 55  22.2  18  17 
Jan Vesely 35  12.4  13
The chart above shows the continued improvement from Beal and Webster. Remember earlier in the season when Beal was flirting with replacement level? Remember how I kept writing that it wasn't time to worry about Beal? Aren't you glad you listened? He's a bona fide pro now, who has been playing above average since January.

Just for kicks, here's Beal's PPA by month so far this season:

October/November  14  27.8  49 
December 12  32.6  63 
January 15  32.9  117 
February 34.8  153 
March 38.0  168 
Since January 1 25  33.9  134 

Also worth noting is Price, who is having the best season of his career. He's been a nice pickup for the team. He's performed well enough in a reserve role that he may find an active market for his services when he hits free agency after the season.

As I wrote last week, I'm concerned about Wall's development. And, as I have been all season, I'm disappointed by the continued lackluster performance from the Wizards young big men -- Singleton, Seraphin and Vesely.