Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Bad Shooting Is at Heart of Awful Start by Washington

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Bad Shooting Is at Heart of Awful Start by Washington

Article excerpt

There are plenty of reasons the Wizards lost their first 12 games of the season, but foremost is their effective field goal percentage, the lowest in the N.B.A.

Last season the Charlotte Bobcats might have been the worst team in National Basketball Association history. They finished 7-59 and their winning percentage was .106, a league record for futility. But the 2011-12 Bobcats may soon have some company.

The good news for the Washington Wizards is that they finally won a game, beating the Portland Trail Blazers, 84-82, in Washington on Wednesday. On Monday, Washington became just the 11th N.B.A. team to start a season with 12 straight losses. The Wizards had lost their games by an average margin of 8.2 points, the worst point differential in the N.B.A., despite playing the league's second easiest schedule to date.

Adjusted for schedule, the Wizards were 9.9 points per game worse than an average team. To add more context, consider that Charlotte - - the team with the league's second-worst adjusted point differential -- was more than 2.5 points per game better than Washington.

While no team starts 0-12 without faults at both ends of the floor, most of Washington's problems are on the offensive end.

Because teams play at different paces, points per game can often provide a biased view of the league's best or worst offenses. A better way to gauge the effectiveness of a team's offense is to compute points scored per 100 possessions.

The Wizards are averaging a league-worst 95.7 points per 100 possessions, a rating that is almost 9 points per 100 possessions worse than the N.B.A. average. (For comparison's sake, Washington's defense is allowing 104.4 points per 100 possessions, slightly better than the league average.)

Avoiding turnovers, grabbing offensive rebounds and getting to the free throw line are all crucial components of an efficient offense. …

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