The Washington Wizards are 0-11, dead last in the NBA. They’ve lost by an average of 6.6 points thus far. Whether the extended losing steak is a result of losing top draft pick John Wall and former Nuggets center Nene, talent deficiency, luck or a combination of factors, the Wizards have been bad.
But have they been historically bad?
For the sake of comparison, lets compare them with the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats, who finished 7-59.
Charlotte: 2-9 W-L, 96.9 offensive rating, .448 eFG%, 110.6 defensive rating, .500 opponent’s eFG%, 2-9 expected win-loss record
Washington: 0-11 W-L, 95.2 offensive rating, .438 eFG%, 102.2 defensive rating, .476 opponent’s eFG%, 3-8 expected win-loss record
So even at their current pace, the Wizards are still on track to win a higher percentage of their games than Charlotte did last season — assuming they begin winning closer to their expected win-loss record.
Offensively, they are a tad worse than the Bobcats were at this point but Charlotte’s offensive rating eventually depreciated to a final mark of 95.2. Defense is the primary difference between the two. Washington is defending at an above-average level, an area in which the Bobcats never succeeded. In fact, Charlotte was in the bottom three in three of the “Four Factors” conducive to success whereas Washington is in the top 10 in creating turnovers and effective field goal percentage, perhaps the most important measure of defensive success. And if not for an average foul rate, the Bobcats would have hemorrhaged more points.
This head-to-head comparison should be encouraging for Wizards fans. Of course, being compared to one of the worst teams ever is no harbinger of success either.
But once — if? — John Wall returns from injury, the offense should improve. The defense has improved since last season and the addition of veterans Okafor and Trevor Ariza mean they are better to equipped to win in the short-term.
The bottom line is that these Wizards are almost a lock for a top three lottery pick. But don’t confuse them with last season’s Bobcats: They aren’t quite that bad.
Playing at full strength? Tony Parker expects to play tonight but that might not be plausible after playing 46 minutes in yesterday’s 111-106 matinee victory in Toronto. Tim Duncan and Danny Green each played more than 40 minutes. Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw approached 40 minutes. Against an inferior team, Popovich may give more time to the rest of the rotation.
Where to watch: The game will be shown on Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW) in San Antonio, Comcast SportsNet in Washington and NBA League Pass at 6:00 p.m. CST. It will also air on stations 1200 WOAI and 1350 KCOR in Spanish.
Injury report: Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) and Stephen Jackson (fractured finger) are out.
Trevor Booker (right knee) is questionable. John Wall (left knee) is out.