2008 Game Thread: Knicks at Wizards

Check out this article by Kevin Broom on the Arenas-less Wizards

http://realgm.com/src_goaltending/133/20080117/are_the_wizards_better_without_gilbert_arenas/

This season, the Wizards are indeed a bit better than they were last year — overall. The improvement is not in any of the commonly cited reasons (improved ball movement, better shot selection, more “sharing” of the ball), however.

Has the team’s shot selection changed significantly? According to 82games.com, this season, 68% of the team’s field goal attempts have been jumpers; 26% have been “close”; 4% dunks, and 1% tips. The numbers for last season are identical. In broad terms, the team is getting the same kinds of shots they’ve always gotten.

Is the team’s shot selection “better”? This is tougher to quantify because “better” can be subjective. One of the best ways is to look at results. And here again, the numbers don’t support the notion of better. Last season, the Wizards had an effective field goal percentage (which accounts for the effect of the three-point shot) of 49.2%. This season — it’s 48.7%.

Shooting percentages on dunks and tips are basically unchanged. This season, the Wizards are shooting worse on jumpers (.407 to .424), but a bit better on close shots (.605 to .586). This change is almost certainly related to Arenas being out. Wizards jump shots are now being taken by less proficient shooters, while a greater proportion of the inside shots are being taken by higher percentage guys such as Brendan Haywood.

Are the Wizards “sharing the ball” more this season? Again, the numbers say no. Last year, 54% of the team’s field goals were assisted — this season, it’s 53%. In addition, the Wizards are turning the ball over more frequently without Arenas. In 06-07, they were second best at protecting the ball; this season they’ve dropped to eighth.