Washington Wizards: 4 stats that show the Wizards are better than their record

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura.
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards have a 112.8 Defensive Rating since January 31

If we’re going to consider January 31 as a turning point for the Wizards, then their performance in the 19 games from that date until now gives us the best representation of the “real” Wizards team. And in that time, the Wizards have established a solid defense, earning a defensive rating of 112.8 (15th overall).

During that span, the Wizards have a defensive rating comparable to that of the Denver Nuggets (112.0) and Indiana Pacers (112.8). Wizards’ defensive rating was 114.7 through the first 15 games (3-12). Still 27th overall this season (113.6), but the evidence suggests this team is actually getting better on the defensive end. Thanks to Rui Hachimura.

Hachimura, who has recently made defense a priority, has emerged as a defensive stopper this season and has recently drawn matchups against some of the NBA’s premier scorers. Hachimura has strapped up Kawhi Leonard (5-12 FG), Kevin Durant (3-11 FG), LeBron James (8-14 FG), Jimmy Butler (4-10 FG), and Carmelo Anthony (2-8 FG) per NBA tracking stats.

While he may not have shut each of these All-Stars down completely, Hachimura is stepping up to the challenge as the defensive stopper on a team that’s been looking for one of those for a few seasons now. It’s especially encouraging when you consider Hachimura is still — in terms of games played — in his rookie season. Despite being drafted nearly 20 months ago, Hachimura has only played 75 games thus far, falling just short of the “typical” 82-game rookie season. Some of that is due to COVID-19 cancelations, some is due to his own injuries, but he’s still a “rookie” even if he’s not playing like it out there.