Stats & Info: Bradley Beal

Keys to victory: Pacers 85, Wizards 63

May, 9, 2014
One night after the San Antonio Spurs scored 70 points in the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Washington Wizards were held to 63 for the entire game by the Indiana Pacers to fall behind in a series for the first time in this year’s playoffs.

Their 63 points were the lowest in franchise postseason history and tied for the fourth-lowest playoff total since the NBA introduced the shot clock before the 1954-55 season.

In Close or Not at All
The Wizards were 13-for-19 in the restricted area, but made only 11 of 54 shots from five feet or further away.

After making 10 three-pointers in their Game 1 win, Washington has gone 9-for-37 outside the arc in the last two games.

John Wall and Bradley Beal both struggled away from the basket, hitting just 23 percent (6-of-26) of their outside the restricted area. In the first two games of the series, they combined to hit 33 percent of such shots.

George, Hibbert Come Through
Paul George scored a game-high 23 points after scoring a combined 29 points in the first two games of the series. He averaged 23.9 points in the First Round.

Unlike Beal and Wall, George shot well outside the paint, where he made 38 percent of his shots (5-of-13), including two three-pointers.

After scoring 28 points in Game 2, Roy Hibbert added 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting Friday. He has reached double figures in three of the last four games after being held in single digits each of the first six games of this year’s postseason.

Keys to victory: Wizards 102, Pacers 96

May, 5, 2014

Trevor Ariza was perfect from long range.
The Washington Wizards had lost eight straight Game 1s before this postseason. They were 4-23 in their previous 27 playoff road games. And they had lost 12 straight road games to the Indiana Pacers.

Those two are no more. And they’re now 4-0 on the road in this season’s playoffs after beating the Indiana Pacers in Game 1.

It was the first win in a conference semifinals for the Wizards since a 1982 win against the Boston Celtics.

Difference-Makers: Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals. He was the first player to post those numbers in a playoff game since Baron Davis in 2002.

Beal joined Derrick Rose, Tony Parker and Magic Johnson as only players age 20 or younger to have multiple 25-point games in wins in a single postseason.

Trevor Ariza scored 22 points and was 6 for 6 from three-point range, tying the Wizards' record for 3-pointers in a playoff game (a mark he already shared with Gilbert Arenas after making six in a game in the first round against the Bulls).

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that he was only the third player in postseason history to finish a playoff game perfect from three-point range, and with at least six attempts. The other two are Robert Horry (who holds the record with seven) and Peja Stojakovic (who also had six).

Ariza also did it on the defensive end, as he held Pacers players to 1 of 11 from the floor as the primary defender, including holding Paul George to three points on 1 of 8 shooting.

Hibbert a non-factor
Pacers center Roy Hibbert became the first starter to have no points, no rebounds and at least five fouls in a playoff game since Andrew Lang of the 1992 Phoenix Suns (against the Portland Trail Blazers).

It was Hibbert’s third scoreless game this postseason. Indiana shot 28 percent with him on the court and 46 percent with him off the court.

Hibbert was -17 Tuesday, the worst of any Pacers player.

The Pacers were 10-of-29 for 20 points in the paint Monday, their fewest paint points in a game this season.

Wizards hit a wall, target perimeter help

June, 26, 2012

Brad Mills/US PresswireThe Wizards need help in the backcourt, where John Wall ranked last in the NBA in points per play.
The Washington Wizards didn’t win three games in a row all season before ending with a six-game win streak. With positive momentum on their side, the Wizards have an opportunity to improve on the perimeter in the NBA Draft.

The Wizards were among the worst outside shooting teams in the NBA. They shot 32 percent on 3-point attempts, which ranked third-worst in the league.

Despite relying on spot-up jumpers more than any other play type, the Wizards were the third-worst spot-up team. They averaged 0.88 points per spot-up play and shot 36 percent on those shot attempts. Only the Charlotte Bobcats and Sacramento Kings shot worse and were more inefficient on spot-up plays.

Only four teams averaged fewer points per play this season on pick-and-roll ball-handler plays. The Wizards averaged just 0.72 points per play and shot 37 percent when the ball-handler held onto the ball in pick-and-roll situations.

The Wizards relied on John Wall as their primary ball-handler with over 30 percent of his offense coming from the pick-and-roll. Wall averaged 0.69 points per play and shot 36 percent as the pick-and-roll ball-handler, both of which ranked last in the NBA (min. 200 plays).

The Wizards backcourt wasn’t just inefficient in pick-and-roll situations. Among the 40 players with at least 1,000 plays this season, Jordan Crawford ranked 38th and Wall ranked 40th in points per play.

The Wizards also had the third-worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA this season and the fourth-lowest percentage of assisted field goals.

Based on their statistical weaknesses, the Wizards should focus on improving their backcourt in the NBA Draft. The top guard prospect is Bradley Beal, who wasn’t incredibly efficient as a freshman. But Beal improved in the NCAA Tournament.

Beal averaged 1.15 points per play during the NCAA Tournament, which would have ranked in the top-3 percentile during the regular season. His adjusted field-goal percentage of 71 percent would have ranked best in the country during the regular season.

The other top backcourt option would be Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the fourth-most efficient scorer in college basketball this season among the 174 players with at least 500 plays.

Lillard could especially help the Wizards in the pick-and-roll, where he averaged the fifth-most points per play in the country (min. 100 plays). But would the Wizards want to pair Lillard, a 6-foot-2 point guard, with Wall, their franchise point guard drafted No. 1 overall in 2010?

The Wizards could also improve at small forward, where Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely both ranked in the bottom 50 percent of the NBA in points per play. The top options could be North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, neither of which ranked in the top-25 percentile this season in points per play.

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Bobcats must roll with pick on offense

June, 25, 2012

Getty ImagesThe Bobcats could really use a good spot-up shooter to improve their offense.
It’s obvious the Charlotte Bobcats were a bad team, but why were so historically awful? And how can they address their flaws in the NBA Draft?

The two most utilized offensive play types for the Bobcats were spot-up jumpers and transition offense, which made up a third of their offense. They were very inefficient when using those plays, ranking 30th and 29th, respectively, in points per play.

However, they were the 12th-most efficient team in pick-and-roll ball-handler plays. But they only ran the pick-and-roll on 15 percent of their plays, less often than all but six teams.

Their success in the pick-and-roll was largely thanks to guards Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker. Henderson ranked 7th in points per play and (min. 50 plays), and Walker had the 17th-most points in the league as the pick-and-roll ball-handler.

Though the Bobcats’ ball-handlers were efficient in the pick-and-roll, their big men were not. The Bobcats ranked last in points per play by pick-and-roll roll men. Bismack Biyombo ranked dead last in points per play (min. 20 plays), and the team had no players among the top 75 percent in the league.

The Bobcats ranked 29th in the league this season in rebounding percentage, ahead of only the Golden State Warriors. Not a single Bobcat ranked in the top 90 of the league in rebounding percentage. Their best rebounder was Biyombo, who ranked 91st at 14.3 percent.

Twenty percent of the Bobcats’ offense came from spot-up jumpers, but they ranked dead last in points per spot-up play. They shot 34.2 percent on spot-up jumpers and 29.5 percent on 3-point attempts, both of which also ranked last in the NBA.

Based on their statistical weaknesses, the Bobcats should be targeting a big man in the NBA Draft who can be an effective pick-and-roll player and rebounder.

Of course, the ideal player would be Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, who had the seventh-most points in the country as the pick-and-roll roll man this season and averaged more than 10 boards per game.

With Davis likely going No. 1, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson would the best choice for Charlotte. Robinson scored the 14th-most points in the country as the roll man, ranked second in rebounds per game, and led the nation in defensive rebounding percentage.

If the Bobcats opt for a shooter with their first pick, the top choices would likely include Florida’s Bradley Beal and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, both of whom shot about 36 percent on spot-up jumpers.

If they wait to draft a shooter with the No. 31 pick, they could select Kentucky’s Doron Lamb or Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, both of whom ranked in the top 20 nationally in spot-up points and shot nearly 50 percent on spot-up jumpers this season. Lamb also shot 46.6 percent on 3-pointers (17th nationally) and Jenkins led the nation in 3-pointers made (134).

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