Monday, July 20, 2015

WNBA 2015: 6-week Ratings


Michael Cooper’s Atlanta Dream are a confounding lot, indeed. They possess the requisite superstar in Olympian Angel McCoughtry, one of them ultra-sonic “bigs” in Sancho Lyttle, a seasoned and savvy traditional post player in Brazilian Erika de Sousa. UConn-prepped Tiffany Hayes has stepped into the Reverie. Coop’s even looking ahead as he plays “bad cop” with the uniquely skilled but poorly conditioned Shoni Schimmel, endorsement opportunity and All-Star voting be damned.

The numbers say they’re beasts on the backboards and create a turnover once in every five opponent possessions. Alas, they similarly give the ball away just as frequently and are the league’s gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

The Grading Scale

To rank the teams, we’ll consider Points per game, Points per shot (i.e. field goal attempt), Points per possession and S(H)UM. (That last category is simply the sum of a team’s FG%, 3FG% and FT%.)
Again, we’ll rank the teams from 1 to 12 in all criteria and simply add up the rankings.

No. 1 Chicago Sky [5]
[4-week rating: 1
2-week rating: 1]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
85.9 [1st] – 1.229 [2nd] –1.050 [1st] – 1644 [1st]

No. 2 Indiana Fever [13]
[4-week rating: 3
2-week rating: 5]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
79.3 [3rd] – 1.233 [1st] –0.992 [4th] – 1555 [5th]

No. 2 Minnesota Lynx [13]
[4-week rating: 2
2-week rating: 2]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
77.2 [5th] – 1.194 [3rd] –1.001 [3rd] – 1640 [2nd]

No. 4 Phoenix Mercury [16]
[4-week rating: 6
2-week rating: 6]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
77.6 [4th] – 1.189 [4th] –0.980 [5th] – 1605 [3th]

No. 5 Tulsa Shock [16.5]
[4-week rating: 4
2-week rating: 3] 
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
80.5 [2nd] – 1.142 [6th] –1.009 [2nd] – 1547 [6th]

No. 6 Los Angeles Sparks [27]
[4-week rating: 9
2-week rating: 12]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
71.4 [10th] – 1.139 [7th] –0.952 [6th] – 1586 [4th]

No. 7 Connecticut Sun [32]
[4-week rating: 7
2-week rating: 4]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
75.9 [6th] – 1.089 [10th] –0.940 [7th] – 1498 [9th]

No. 7 New York Liberty [32]
[4-week rating: 8
2-week rating: 7]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
73.3 [8th] – 1.163 [5th] –0.924 [9th] – 1481 [10th]

No. 9 Washington Mystics [34]
[4-week rating: 5
2-week rating: 8] 
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
72.2 [9th] – 1.112 [9th] –0.939 [8th] – 1510 [8th]

No. 10 Seattle Storm [36.5]
[4-week rating: 10
2-week rating: 10] 
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
68.2 [12th] – 1.131 [8th] –0.895 [10th] – 1547 [6th]

No. 11 Atlanta Dream [43]
[4-week rating: 12
2-week rating: 9]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
73.7 [7th] – 1.068 [12th] –0.887 [12th] – 1448 [12th]

No. 12 San Antonio Stars [44]
[4-week rating: 11
2-week rating: 11]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM

70.0 [11th] – 1.078 [11th] –0.890 [11th] – 1449 [11th





Are the Sky Legit?

Some home cookin’ has propelled the Chicago Sky offensive juggernaut to the top of the quite competitive Eastern Conference.

Here’s how the teams rate after 42 days. (All data reflects play through Thursday, July 16.)


Power Rankings --The Measurement Instrument

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 current Sacramento Kings coach George Karl, 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.

No. 1 Minnesota Lynx (4.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 1
2-week Abacus rating: 2]

10-3, .769; 1st seed West / 1st overall                                            
KK:  +4; (5 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall (tied)
CQ:  +63; (.487 [3rd] - .424 [2nd]) / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +102; (528 [3rd] – 426 [2nd]) / No. 1 overall

No. 2 Chicago Sky (12)
[4-week Abacus rating: 5
2-week Abacus rating: 3]

9-5, .643; 1st seed East / 3th overall (tied)*
KK:  +3; (4 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 3 overall
CQ:  +48; (.512 [1st] - .464 [7th]) / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +67; (565 [1st] – 498 [7th]) / No. 3 overall

No. 3 Tulsa Shock (12.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 2
2-week Abacus rating 1]

10-5, .667; 2nd seed West / 2nd overall
KK:  +4; (4 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall (tied)
CQ:  +13; (.482 [4th] - .469 [8th]) / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +66; (550 [2nd] – 484 [6th]) / No. 4 overall

No. 4 New York Liberty (14.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 4
2-week Abacus rating: 6]

9-5, .643; 1st seed East / 3rd overall (tied)*
KK:  +1; (3 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)
CQ:  +41; (.464 [6th] - .423 [1st]) / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +96; (491 [5th] – 395 [1st]) / No. 2 overall

No. 5 Phoenix Mercury (19)
[4-week Abacus rating: 7
2-week Abacus rating: 7]

9-5, .643; 3rd seed West / 3rd overall (tied)*
KK:  +2; (3 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 4 overall
CQ:  +28; (.474 [5th] - .446 [3rd]) / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  -7; (475 [8th] – 482 [5th]) / No. 7 overall

No. 6 Connecticut Sun (26.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 3
2-week Abacus rating: 3]

7-6, .538; 4th seed East / 7th overall
KK:  0; (4 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall
CQ:  +4; (.454 [7th] - .450 [4th]) / No. 6 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +7; (483 [6th] – 476 [4th]) / No. 6 overall

No. 7 Indiana Fever (28.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 8
2-week Abacus rating: 10]

8-6, .571; 3rd seed East / 6th overall
KK:  -1; (3 Road Win – 4 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall
CQ:  +4; (.490 [2nd] - .486 [10th]) / No. 6 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -9; (516 [4th] – 525 [9th]) / No. 8 overall

No. 8 Washington Mystics (31.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 6
2-week Abacus rating: 5]

6-6, .500; 5th seed East / 8th overall
KK:  +1; (3 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)
CQ:  -11; (.449 [9th] - .460 [5th]) / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  -61; (470 [10th] – 531 [10th]) / No. 10 overall

No. 9 Atlanta Dream (32)
[4-week Abacus rating: 9
2-week Abacus rating: 8]

7-8, .467; 6th seed East / 9th overall
KK:  -2; (2 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall
CQ:  -22; (.439 [11th] - .461 [6th]) / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +33; (481 [7th] – 448 [3rd]) / No. 5 overall

No. 10 San Antonio Stars (42.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 11
2-week Abacus rating: 11]

3-11, .214; 5th seed West / 11th overall
KK:  -3; (0 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
CQ:  -50; (.441 [10th] - .491 [11th]) / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -112; (446 [11th] – 558 [12th]) / No. 11 overall

No. 11 Seattle Storm (43.5)
[4-week Abacus rating: 10
2-week Abacus rating: 9]

4-12, .250; 4th seed West / 10th overall
KK:  -3; (1 Road Win – 4 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
CQ:  -54; (.425 [12th] - .479 [9th]) / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -134; (375 [12th] – 509 [8th]) / No. 12 overall

No. 12 Los Angeles Sparks (45)
[4-week Abacus rating: 11
2-week Abacus rating: 12]

2-12, .143; 6th seed West / 12th overall
KK:  -5; (0 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
CQ:  -57; (.454 [8th] - .511 [12th]) / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  -60; (474 [9th] – 534 [11th]) / No. 9 overall

Room for Improvement?
The Sky’s exceptional showing is occurring despite “giving away” 1.79 points each game at the three-point stripe, the second worst (to the Liberty’s whopping -2.93) in the league.

Three-ficiency
As basketball is evolving here in the 21st Century, “judicious accuracy” and “consistent challenge” seem to capture the offensive and defensive (respectively) philosophies for the more successful teams when it comes to three-point shooting.

Check out the who’s sitting atop the standings or playing deep into the playoffs and invariably these squads invariably hold high ratings in both utilizing and defending the “stripe.”

Let’s try ranking the teams by the difference between their own three-point shooting and that of the opposition. (Attempts and makes are presented “per-game” for ease of comparison.)


No. 1 Indiana Fever   [+56]
[4-week rating: 3
2-week rating: 7] 
.375 [1st] – 5.79 [4th] out of 15.43 [6th]
.319 [5th] – 4.93 [6th] out of 15.43 [7th]

No. 2 Tulsa Shock   [+53]
[4-week rating: 2
2-week rating: 2]
.355 [3rd] – 7.07 [1st] out of 19.93 [1st]
.302 [2nd] – 4.47 [3rd] out of 14.8 [5th]

No. 3 Washington Mystics   [+43]
[4-week rating: 4
2-week rating: 4]
.318 [8th] – 5.92 [3rd] out of 18.58 [2nd]
.275 [1st] – 3.5 [1st] out of 12.57 [2nd]

No. 4 Minnesota Lynx   [+15]
[4-week rating: 5
2-week rating: 5]
.331 [5th] – 3.77 [10th] out of 11.38 [12th]
.316 [4th] – 5.54 [10th] out of 17.54 [11th]

No. 5 Connecticut Sun   [+13]
[4-week rating: 6
2-week rating: 1]
.341 [4th] – 6.0 [2nd] out of 17.62 [3rd]
.328 [8th] – 4.54 [4th] out of 13.85 [3rd]

No. 6 Phoenix Mercury   [+12]
[4-week rating: 1
2-week rating: 3]
.358 [2nd] – 5.21 [6th] out of 14.57 [8th]
.346 [11th] – 5.29 [8th] out of 15.29 [6th]

No. 7 Seattle Storm   [+1]
[4-week rating: 7
2-week rating: 6] 
.327 [6th] – 5.63 [5th] out of 17.19 [4th]
.326 [6th] – 5.5 [9th] out of 16.88 [10th]

No. 8 Atlanta Dream   [-15]
[4-week rating: 12
2-week rating: 9]
.300 [10th] – 4.53 [8th] out of 15.13 [7th]
.315 [3rd] – 4.87 [5th] out of 15.47 [8th]

No. 9 Los Angeles Sparks   [-20]
[4-week rating: 8
2-week rating: 12]
.318 [9th] – 5.0 [7th] out of 15.7 [5th]
.338 [9th] – 5.0 [7th] out of 14.79 [4th]

No. 10 Chicago Sky   [-37]
[4-week rating: 11
2-week rating: 10] 
.319 [7th] – 4.14 [9th] out of 13.0 [10th]
.356 [12th] – 5.93 [11th] out of 16.64 [9th]

No. 11 New York Liberty   [-53]
[4-week rating: 9
2-week rating: 11] 
.292 [11th] – 3.57 [11th] out of 12.2 [11th]
.345 [10th] – 6.5 [12th] out of 18.86 [12th]

No. 12 San Antonio Stars   [-76]
[4-week rating: 10
2-week rating: 8] 
.251 [12th] – 3.36 [12th] out of 13.36 [9th]
.327 [7th] – 3.79 [2nd] out of 11.57 [1st]

A Paradigm Shift?

Oddly, while notching four consecutive victories in Weeks 5 & 6, the Phoenix Mercury allowed their opponents to connect on 21 of 48 three-pointers. The Merc dropped from the top to the middle of this heap as they were rising two spots in our other two scales. The return of the big girl imposes a new dynamic on an entire team (with or without its legend) and upon any game in which she plays.

Prior Ratings and Data are available through Week 2 and Week4.