5 numbers that define Washington Wizards’ 2019-20 season (so far)

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Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura Bam Adebayo (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

115.8: Wizards’ Defensive Rating, worst in NBA

How a team like the Washington Wizards, with one of the NBA’s highest-scoring offense, most productive bench unit, and Bradley Beal, keep losing? Well, although the Wizards score A TON of points, they give up even more.

You don’t have to be Nate Silver to realize that’s not a winning formula.

Of the 64 games the Wizards have played this season, they have given up 130 or more points in 14 games. Only two of those games went to overtime.

Comparatively, the Wizards gave up 130 points 14 times last season, but five of those games went to overtime. If you look even further back, to the 2018-19 season, the Wizards only gave up 130 points twice in 82 games. Again, don’t need Nate Silver to identify that as a bad trend.

Yes, the scoring totals have been climbing around the NBA season after season, so giving up more points more frequently isn’t quite an indictment on this defense. However, coming in dead last in defensive ranking by giving up an average of 115.8 points per possession is.

John Wall’s return to the court should boost their defensive stature. The former All-Defensive first-teamer will surely be an improvement over Isiah Thomas and Ish Smith. But the Wizards shouldn’t be happy with that.

They’d be wise to use the offseason hunting for a perimeter defender that could help stop penetration or a legit rim protector that can stop opponents after they’ve gotten past their first man. Or both.

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