Thursday, August 28, 2014

WNBA 2014 Final Power Rankings*

The “measuring stick” is explained at the bottom.

No. 1 Phoenix Mercury (6)
[13-week ESPN rating: 1
9-week Abacus rating: 1
6-week Abacus rating: 1
3-week Abacus rating: 2
2013 Abacus Rating: 4]
29-5, .853; 1st seed West / 1st overall
KK:  +12; (13 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall
CQ:  +62; (.515 - .453) / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +63; (540-499) / No. 3 overall
Abacus Revelation: Tough not to be best in the league when you’re tops offensively and defensively in both Efficiency and Field Goal shooting. The only areas where the Mercury grade out poorly are Offensive Rebounding (No. 11) and forcing Turnovers (No. 10).

No. 2 Minnesota Lynx (8)
[13-week ESPN rating: 2
9-week Abacus rating: 2
6-week Abacus rating: 2
3-week Abacus rating: 1
2013 Abacus Rating: 1]
25-9, .735; 2nd seed West / 2nd overall                                          
KK:  +8; (10 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall
CQ:  +45; (.508 - .463) / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +53; (552-499) / No. 2 overall
Abacus Revelation: Gotta love the Lynx – model franchise on and off the court. But you also gotta start to think that their window of championship opportunity will close in direct proportion to the rise of the dominance of Brittney Griner. I expect Maya and her crew play with some extra passion this go-round.

No. 3 Atlanta Dream (10)
[13-week ESPN rating: 4
9-week Abacus rating: 2
6-week Abacus rating: 2
3-week Abacus rating: 6
2013 Abacus Rating: 4]
19-15, .559; 1st seed East / 3rd overall
KK:  +2; (6 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall
CQ:  +17; (.478 - .461) / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +54; (539-485) / No. 1 overall
Abacus Revelation: Atlanta has everything needed to be an elite team – skilled and athletic bigs, a take-over-the-game star (and perhaps another, tiffany Hayes, in-training), quality if under-sized guards. Post-All-Star break, they were the league’s second-worst team in CQ. Confounding!

No. 4 Los Angeles Sparks (19)
[13-week ESPN rating: 8
9-week Abacus rating: 4
6-week Abacus rating: 7
3-week Abacus rating: 5
2013 Abacus Rating: 2]
16-18, .471; 4th seed West / 4th overall (tied)
KK:  -1; (9 Road Wins – 10 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
CQ:  +12; (.484 - .472) / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  +16; (527-511) / No. 4 overall
Abacus Revelation: The enigmatic Sparks were dead last in successful 3-point shots (89) and No. 10 in free throw attempts (573).

No. 5 Indiana Fever (25)
[13-week ESPN rating: 6
9-week Abacus rating: 5
6-week Abacus rating: 6
3-week Abacus rating: 7
2013 Abacus Rating: 7]
16-18, .471; 2nd seed East / 4th overall (tied)
KK:  -1; (9 Road Wins – 10 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
CQ:  -12; (.4- .486) / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  +4; (516-512) / No. 6 overall
Abacus Revelation: The Fever are the third most accurate 3-point shooting team (.346) in the circuit and are second-best in defending it (.305). Good combination in today’s game, huh?

No. 6 Washington Mystics (26)
[13-week ESPN rating: 3
9-week Abacus rating: 6
6-week Abacus rating: 9
3-week Abacus rating: 4
2013 Abacus rating: 6]
16-18, .471; 3rd seed East /4th overall (tied)
KK:  -1; (8 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
CQ:  -8; (.460 - .468) / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -15; (501-516) / No. 9 overall
Abacus Revelation: Though offensively challenged, Coach Mike Thibault’s troops rank second in Opponent FG% (.412) and third in Opponent 3-point FG’s (144).

No. 7 New York Liberty (30)
[13-week ESPN rating: 9
9-week Abacus rating: 9
6-week Abacus rating: 12
3-week Abacus rating: 10
2013 Abacus Rating: 9]
15-19, .441; 5th seed East / 8th overall (tied)
KK:  -2; (5 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied)
CQ:  -7; (.459 - .4676/ No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  -10; (484-494) / No. 8 overall
Abacus Revelation: Little wonder that a Bill Laimbeer-coached squad would box-out efficiently, limiting opponents to a league-worst .233 Offensive Rebounding percentage. The Liberty were above .500 (11-9) in their last 20 games. Are  better times on the horizon?

No. 8 San Antonio Stars (32)
[13-week ESPN rating: 7
9-week Abacus rating: 7
6-week Abacus rating: 8
3-week Abacus rating: 8
2013 Abacus Rating: 11]
16-18, .471; 3rd seed West / 4th overall (tied)
KK:  -1; (8 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
CQ:  -28; (.472 - .500) / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -35; (514-549) / No. 10 overall
Abacus Revelation: The Stars had the fewest (97) missed free throws, the most successful 3-point FG’s (226) and rank second in combined shooting (including FT% and 3FG%). Still, as the league grows bigger and more athletic, Appel and Adams need more help up front.

No. 9 Connecticut Sun (34)
[13-week ESPN rating: 12
9-week Abacus rating: 8
6-week Abacus rating: 4
3-week Abacus rating: 12
2013 Abacus Rating: 12]
13-21, .382; 6th seed East / 10th overall
KK:  -4; (4 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall
CQ:  -15; (.467 - .482) / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +11; (531-520) / No. 5 overall
Abacus Revelation: The young and pesky Sun rank best in the “hustle” categories of Offensive Rebounding (3rd) and forcing turnovers (4th). Since WNBA rookies have little if any prep time for their season, expect better production from their No. 2 & 3 players in total minutes, A. Thomas and C. Ogwumike respectively.

No. 10 Chicago Sky (35)
[13-week ESPN rating: 5
9-week Abacus rating: 12
6-week Abacus rating: 10
3-week Abacus rating: 3
2013 Abacus Rating: 3]
15-19, .441; 4th seed East / 8th overall (tied)
KK:  -2; (6 Road Wins –8Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied)
CQ:  -10; (.470 - .480) / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  -48; (492-540) / No. 11 overall
Abacus Revelation: Pokey Chapman’s Sky rank third in both Opponent FG% (.420) and 3-point FG% (.315) .

No. 11 Tulsa Shock (40)
[13-week ESPN rating: 11
9-week Abacus rating: 10
6-week Abacus rating: 5
3-week Abacus rating: 12
2013 Abacus Rating: 9]
12-22, .353; 5th seed West / 11th overall (tied)
KK:  -5; (4 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall (tied)
CQ:  -20; (.498 - .518) / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -6; (567-573) / No. 7 overall
Abacus Revelation: The young and entertaining Shock are third-best in Offensive Efficiency and No. 1 in Offensive Rebounding and SPOR-t.

No. 12 Seattle Storm (47)
[13-week ESPN rating: 10
9-week Abacus rating: 11
6-week Abacus rating: 11
3-week Abacus rating: 10
2013 Abacus Rating: 8]
12-22, .353; 5th seed West / 11th overall (tied)
KK:  -5; (4 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall (tied)
CQ:  -41; (.451 - .492) / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  -95 (442-537) / No. 12 overall
Abacus Revelation: Coach Brian Agler’s crew made the second-most 3-point FG’s and were third=best in “boxing-out.” Wonder who he’ll want with that first draft pick?



*
Our team-ranking tool utilizes four elements. Two scales are based solely on team wins and losses; the others are measures of the efficiency of team performance in comparison with the competition. First, we’ll simply use win-loss record irrespective of conference.
The second criterion will be the difference between a team’s road wins and its home losses. Since this cute little metric is said to be a personal favorite of long-time NBA coach George Karl (now at ESPN), let’s call this the Karl Kount (KK).
Criterion No. 3, Conversion Quotient (CQ), involves the rate at which a team converts its possessions into a successful field goals or free throw attempts. Like the KK, the computation is simple subtraction—a team’s rate of offensive efficiency minus that of the opponent.
Lastly, please allow Abacus to introduce the “SPOR-t” score. SPOR-t stands for “Shooting Plus Offensive Rebounds minus turnovers.” Add a team’s FG percentage and its offensive rebounding percentage (o. boards divided by missed FG’s). Then subtract the percentage of a team’s possessions lost to turnovers. For example, a team shoots field goals at a .488 clip, its offensive rebounds account for .199 of its missed field goals, and .143 of its possessions result in a turnover. So its SPOR-t is (488+199-143) or 544. Once again, our measurement will be the difference between the SPOR-t scores of a team and its opposition.

We’ll rank the teams from 1 to 12 in all criteria and simply add up the rankings. Low score wins, naturally.