Wizards have the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA

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As much as Bill Parcells might disagree, sports win-loss records sometimes warrant important context. For the 17-22 Wizards this season, some could point to their injuries, with Bradley Beal in particular missing 15 of the team’s 39 games and leaving several others.

The Wizards’ injury situation depends on which metric you look at. They rank pretty average in terms of games lost and total player salary lost. But so is she Ranked high in VORP (Value over Substitutes) lost due to injuries.

Basically, they didn’t miss many games in general, but the injuries were with key players. Beal is a big part of that as Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma have both been available for almost every game.

However, there may be another obstacle that the sorcerers faced, but one that is more impactful. That would be their strength of schedule. To date, based on opponent winning percentage, the Wizards have had the third toughest schedule (.515) in the NBA. According to ESPN’s RPI rankings, only the Bulls and Raptors have had a tougher road to this point.

Hardest schedule so far:

1. Bulls – .517

2. Birds of Prey – .516

3. Wizard – .515

4. Piston – .511

5. Jazz – .509

Interestingly, the Bulls and Raptors have had basically identical seasons to date as the Wizards. The Wizards (17-22) are in 10th place in the East and currently have the last play-in spot. Chicago (17-21) is in ninth place and Toronto (16-22) is in 11th place.

The downside to the Wizards’ challenging schedule in the first half of the season is that things will pick up in the second half. In fact, according to Tankathon, they have the easiest remaining schedule (0.484).

Easiest Schedule Remaining:

1 Wizard – .484

2. Birds of Prey – .485

The 3 Kings – .487

4. Bulls – .487

5. Piston – .489

The Raptors have the second-easiest and the Bulls have the third-easiest. Given that these three teams are tied in the standings, it could be a relevant factor going forward.

The Wizards, for example, stuck to their schedule. They are 10-16 against opponents with records of .500 or higher. They are now 7-6 against sub-.500 teams. In the East, only the Raptors have played fewer games against teams with losing records than the Wizards (12 to 13).

Washington mostly cared about the teams they were supposed to beat. This may be more important than you think. Look at the Brooklyn Nets, who are 10-10 against teams of .500 or higher, but delight in opponents under .500 and go 15-3 in these games. That’s a big part of why they have the third-best record in the East at 25-13.

The Knicks are perhaps a better example. They are 21-18 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. New York is 7-13 against teams .500 or higher and 14-5 against losing teams. With six more games against teams below .500 than the Wizards, the Knicks took advantage of their schedule.

Well, some have to do with time. Injuries to key players on opposing teams can disrupt matches when they occur, as can rest and placement. The Wizards have played 22 of their 39 games away this year, only the Pistons have played more. Only the Blazers (15) have played fewer than the Wizards’ 17 home games.

Washington is 10-7 at home this year compared to 10-15 away. So that makes a difference too.

Of course, the main reasons the Wizards are 17-22 in 39 games this season are related to their performance on the court. If they were more consistent in defense and shooting three pointers, their record would be better.

But their schedule undoubtedly played a role in their results and could present an opportunity to capitalize on the move forward.

Source: www.nbcsports.com

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