Friday, September 18, 2015

WNBA 2015: Second Half Ratings


Commissioner Laurel Ritchie launched her 2015 Championship Tournament last night, and things went pretty much according to form – home teams defended successfully, the reigning champs quite convincingly.

Full-season ratings would make New York and Minnesota prohibitive favorites to advance to the Finals, Chicago and their MVP enjoying a puncher’s chance. But it’s been a season replete with a lot more comings-and-goings than most, and team identity (much less chemistry) has been a transient commodity in a good many locales.

Let’s use our normal measurements, but look only at play since the All-Star Break (ASB).

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 New York Liberty (7.5)
[ASB Abacus rating: 2
Full season Abacus rating: 1]

11-6, .647; 2nd seed East / 2nd overall
KK:  +2; (5 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall (tied)
CQ:  +36; (.478 [7th] - .442 [1st]) / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +79; (521 [5th] – 442 [1st]) / No. 1 overall

No. 2 Indiana Fever (8)
[ASB Abacus rating: 8
Full season Abacus rating: 4]

12-6, .667; 1st seed East / 1st overall
KK:  +4; (6 Road Win – 2 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall
CQ:  +22; (.479 [5th] - .457 [4th]) / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  +73 (529 [2nd] – 456 [2nd]) / No. 2 overall     
           
No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks (12)
[ASB Abacus rating: 12
Full season Abacus rating: 10]

11-7, .611; 1st seed West / 3rd overall (tied)
KK:  +3; (5 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall
CQ:  +35; (.499 [1st] - .464 [6th]) / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +20; (526 [3rd] – 506 [7th]) / No. 4 overall (tied)

No. 4 Phoenix Mercury (16)
[ASB Abacus rating: 6
Full season Abacus rating: 4]

11-7, .611; 1st seed West / 3rd overall (tied)
KK:  +2; (4 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall (tied)
CQ:  +31; (.478 [6th] - .447 [2nd]) / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +16; (494 [8th] – 478 [3rd]) / No. 6 overall

No. 5 Chicago Sky (18.5)
[ASB Abacus rating: 3
Full season Abacus rating: 3]

10-7, .588; 3rd seed East / 5th overall
KK:  +1; (4 Road Wins – 3 Home Loss) / No. 5 overall (tied)
CQ:  +12; (.490 [2nd] - .478 [8th]) / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +55; (551 [1st] – 496 [6th]) / No. 3 overall

No. 6 Minnesota Lynx (22)
[ASB Abacus rating: 1
Full season Abacus rating: [2]

10-8, .556; 3rd seed West / 6th overall                                           
KK:  +1; (3 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)
CQ:  +8; (.469 [8th] - .461 [5th]) / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  +20; (511 [7th] – 491 [5th]) / No. 4 overall (tied)

No. 7 Washington Mystics (30.5)
[ASB Abacus rating: 5
Full season Abacus rating: 7]

9-10, .474; 4th seed East / 8th overall
KK:  -1; (3 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied)
CQ:  +6; (.461 [10th] - .455 [3rd]) / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  +1; (482 [10th] – 481 [4th]) / No. 7 overall

No. 8 Atlanta Dream (32)
[ASB Abacus rating: 9
Full season Abacus rating: 8]

8-9, .471; 5th seed East / 9th overall
KK:  0; (4 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall
CQ:  -7; (.480 [4th] - .487 [10th]) / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  -11; (513 [6th] – 524 [9th]) / No. 8 overall

No. 9 Tulsa Shock (33.5)
[ASB Abacus rating: 4
Full season Abacus rating: 6]

8-8, .500; 4th seed West / 7th overall
KK:  -1; (2 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied)
CQ:  -9; (.487 [3rd] - .496 [12th]) / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  -22; (522 [4th] – 544 [12th]) / No. 9 overall

No. 10 Connecticut Sun (40.5)
[ASB Abacus rating: 7
Full season Abacus rating: 9]

7-12, .368; 6th seed East / 10th overall
KK:  -3; (2 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
CQ:  -28; (.462 [9th] - .490 [11th]) / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -37; (494 [8th] – 531 [11th]) / No. 10 overall

No. 11 Seattle Storm (43.5)
[ASB Abacus rating: 11
Full season Abacus rating: 11]

5-11, .313; 5th seed West / 11th overall
KK:  -3; (1 Road Win – 4 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
CQ:  -30; (.445 [11th] - .475 [7th]) / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -90; (422 [11th] – 512 [8th]) / No. 11 overall

No. 12 San Antonio Stars (48)
[ASB Abacus rating: 10
Full season Abacus rating: 12]

3-14, .176; 6th seed West / 12th overall
KK:  -6; (1 Road Win – 7 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
CQ:  -79; (.407 [12th] - .486 [9th]) / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  -128; (397 [12th] – 525 [10th]) / No. 12 overall

Three-ficiency
A funny thing was happening as WNBA 2015 wound its way from ASB to the playoff’s opening bell.
All the best three-point shooting was occurring in the East … literally. For the second half of the season, East accuracies spread from .360 to .328 while Western snipers ranged from .316 to .286.

For the NBA’s 2014-15 season, seven teams finished in the Top Ten in both shooting and defending the three-point shot – all qualified for the playoffs, including three of the four conference finalists.

The 12-team WNBA’s proportional equivalent (upper third) is a Top Four finish. The Fever finished the season tops on both scales. The Mystics (2nd & 3rd) and Cheryl Reeve’s seasoned vets up north (4th bothwise) closed business residing in this neighborhood.

Here’s how they stack up for second-half play in this little component of the competition.

We’ll rank 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   [+59]
[ASB rating: 1
Full season rating: 1]

.345 [2nd] – 5.06 [5th] out of 14.67 [5th]
.286 [1st] – 4.22 [3rd] out of 14.78 [7th]

No. 2 Washington Mystics   [+34]
[ASB rating: 2
Full season rating: 2]

.360 [1st] – 6.11 [1st] out of 16.95 [3rd]
.326 [8th] – 4 [2nd] out of 12.26 [1st]

No. 3 Chicago Sky   [+29]
[ASB rating: 12
Full season rating: 9]

.338 [3th] – 4.18 [7th] out of 12.35 [12th]
.309 [5th] – 4.41 [4th] out of 14.29 [4th]

No. 4 San Antonio Stars   [+22]
[ASB rating: 10           
Full season rating: 8]

.314 [8th] – 4.06 [9th] out of 12.94 [8th]
.292 [2nd] – 3.88 [1st] out of 13.29 [3rd]

No. 5 Minnesota Lynx   [+13]
[ASB rating: 2
Full season rating: 3]

.316 [7th] – 4.06 [9th] out of 12.83 [9th]
.303 [4th] – 4.5 [5th] out of 14.83 [8th]

No. 6 Seattle Storm   [+2]
[ASB rating: 6
Full season rating: 9]

.313 [9th] – 3.88 [12th] out of 12.38 [11th]
.311 [6th] – 4.94 [9th] out of 15.88 [11th]

No. 7 Atlanta Dream   [+1]
[ASB rating: 8
Full season rating: 6]

.331 [5th] – 5.12 [4th] out of 15.47 [4th]
.330 [9th] – 5.71 [12th] out of 17.29 [12th]

No. 8 Phoenix Mercury   [-2]
[ASB rating: 5
Full season rating: 5]

.294 [11th] – 4.17 [8th] out of 14.17 [6th]
.296 [3rd] – 4.61 [6th] out of 13.56 [10th]

No. 9 New York Liberty   [-22]
[ASB rating: 11           
Full season rating: 12]

.336 [4th] – 4.24 [6th] out of 12.59 [10th]
.358 [10th] – 5.47 [11th] out of 15.29 [10th]

No. 10 Los Angeles Sparks   [-40]
[ASB rating: 9
Full season rating: 11]

.286 [12th] – 3.94 [11th] out of 13.78 [7th]
.326 [7th] – 4.78 [8th] out of 14.67 [6th]
                                                                                                                                                    
No. 11 Connecticut Sun   [-47]
[ASB rating: 7
Full season rating: 10]

.328 [6th] – 6.05 [2nd] out of 18.47 [1st]
.375 [12th] – 4.74 [7th] out of 12.63 [2nd]

No. 12 Tulsa Shock   [-66]
[ASB rating: 4
Full season rating: 7]

.295 [10th] – 5.19 [3rd] out of 17.56 [2nd]
.361 [11th] – 5.19 [10th] out of 14.38 [5th]


Shooting and Scoring: The Grading Scale

It’s said that defense wins championships – it’s also said that good defense begins by making the other team retrieve the ball from the net.

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 Indiana Fever [11]
[ASB rating: 4
Full season rating: 2]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
78.8 [3rd] – 1.187 [5th] –0.996 [2nd] – 1620 [1st]

No. 2 Atlanta Dream [12]
[ASB rating: 12
Full season rating: 7]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
80.8 [1st] – 1.196 [3rd] –0.985 [4th] – 1571 [4th]

No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks [14]
[ASB rating: 7
Full season rating: 6]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
76.7 [5th] – 1.228 [1st] –1.015 [1st] – 1558 [7th]

No. 4 Tulsa Shock [21]
[ASB rating: 5
Full season rating: 5]
           
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
77.3 [4th] – 1.193 [4th] –0.993 [3rd] – 1500 [10th]

No. 5 New York Liberty [23]
[ASB rating: 10
Full season rating: 10]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
75.8 [6th] – 1.159 [7th] –0.974 [5th] – 1567 [5th]

No. 6 Phoenix Mercury [23.5]
[ASB rating: 3
Full season rating: 4]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
73.9 [7th] – 1.206 [2nd] –0.973 [6th] – 1538 [8th*]


No. 7 Chicago Sky [26]
[ASB rating: 1
Full season rating: 1]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
80.0 [2nd] – 1.126 [10th] –0.966 [8th] – 1563 [6th]

No. 7 Washington Mystics [26]
[ASB rating: 6
Full season rating: 9]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
73.8 [9th] – 1.1 [8th] –0.973 [7th] – 1594 [2nd]

No. 9 Seattle Storm [31]
[ASB rating: 9
Full season rating: 8]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
71.3 [11th] – 1.160 [6th] –0.915 [11th] – 1579 [3rd]

No. 10 Connecticut Sun [38]
[ASB rating: 8
Full season rating: 11]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
73.8 [8th] – 1.128 [9th] –0.958 [10th] – 1411 [11th]

No. 11 Minnesota Lynx [38.5]
[ASB rating: 2 
Full season rating: 3]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
73.5 [10th] – 1.118 [11th] –0.958 [9th] – 1538 [8th*]

No. 12 San Antonio Stars [48]
[ASB rating: 11
Full season rating: 12]

PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
65.1 [12th] – 0.980 [12th] –0.827 [12th] – 1442 [12th]


Prior Ratings and Data are available through Week 2, Week 4, Week 6, ASB, Week 10 and Week 12.