Thursday, June 2, 2016

WNBA “20”16: 2-Week Progress Report

The WNBA’s historic twentieth season has kicked off (sooner than normal in deference to the lengthy quadrennial mid-season hiatus) with new leadership (President Lisa Borders), a re-vamped playoff format and more balanced schedule, a couple of farewell tours (Tamika Catchings, Dan Hughes) and a miffed superstar with a moderately fashionable shoulder-chip (Olympic snubee Candace Parker).




The Grading Scale

“Flow”: this calculation puts a number to a team’s unsuccessful possessions (i.e. the other guys’ “stops”). Just take their missed field goals (attempts minus makes), subtract the offensive rebounds, and then add the turnovers. The “scores” represent per-game performance.

“Striping”: this calculation measures the impact of missed free throws and made treys. By subtracting the former from the latter [3’s minus missed FT’s], we identify a team’s gain or loss in points through “specialty shooting.” Again the “scores” are per-game. (A further division by two converts “points” to “conversions” – thus they can be combined with the “Flow” score.)

KK: Karl Kount – named for George Karl – is a way to measure a team’s grit and savvy through its ability to defend its home court and win on the road, a simple calculation for generally reliable info.

“SPOR-t”: 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 the sum of those o. boards and the opposition's d. boards). Then subtract the percentage of a team’s possessions lost to turnovers. For example, a team shoots field goals at a .488 clip, offensive rebounds at a rate of .199, and commits a turnover on .143 of its possessions. 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.

These ratings and data reflect play during the first 14 days of this season, through Friday May 27.
                                                                                                                                                                   
We’ll rank the teams from 1 to 12 in all four criteria and simply add up the rankings. Low score wins, naturally.

No. 1 Los Angeles Sparks, 5-0 (8)
[2015 Abacus rating: 10]

KK:  +4; (4 Road Wins – 0 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall
Flow:  +5.60; (47.2 stops OF opp [No.4] – 41.6 stops BY opp [No.1] / No.2 overall
Striping:  +1.90; (+0.40) conversions [No. 5] – (-1.50) opp conversions [No. 3]) / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +67; (517 [No. 6] – 450 [No. 3]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sparks are forcing a turnover on a whopping 20.9% of opponent possessions.


No. 2 Minnesota Lynx, 5-0 (10.5)
[2015 Abacus rating: 2]

KK:  +3; (3 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)
Flow:  +5.80; (47.4 stops OF opp [No.3] – 41.6 stops BY opp [No.1] / No.1 overall
Striping:  -0.20; (+0.60) conversions [No. 4] – (+0.80) opp conversions [No. 10] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  +133; (576 [No. 2] – 443 [No. 1]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The defending champs eschew the trey (.189 usage rate) more than all but two teams.


No. 3 Atlanta Dream, 4-1 (20.5)
[2015 Abacus rating: 8]

KK:  +3; (3 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)
Flow:  +5.40; (48.4 stops OF opp [No.2] – 43.0 stops BY opp [No.5] / No.3 overall
Striping:  -1.40; [-2.60) conversions [No. 12] – (-1.20) conversions [No. 5] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  +35; (557 [No. 4] – 522 [No. 6]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: The enigmatic Dream have been the WNBA’s worst “boxing-out” team so far.



ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Masters of the Craft (Part 1)

Which teams are performing the rudimentary skills of the game most proficiently at both ends of the floor? Let’s consider six elements of play: FG shooting, three-point shooting, Points per Game, Offensive Rebounding, the matter of turnovers and the SPOR-t score of our ratings. These teams hold a Top Four rank offensively and defensively:

FG%: Chicago, Los Angeles
3FG%: Los Angeles, Washington
PPG: Los Angeles, Minnesota
OR%: Chicago, Minnesota
TO%: Los Angeles
SPOR-t: Chicago, Minnesota



No. 4 Dallas Wings, 3-2 (21)
[2015 Abacus rating: 6]

KK:  +1; (2 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 4 overall
Flow:  -2.00; (39.8 stops OF opp [No.12] – 41.8 stops BY opp [No.3] / No.8 overall
Striping:  +1.40; (-0.10) conversions [No. 6] – (-1.50) conversions [No. 3] / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +14; (566 [No. 3] – 552 [No. 10]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: The newest Texans lead the league in per-game 3-point attempts at 21.2.


No. 5 Indiana Fever, 2-2 (26.5)
[2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  -1; (0 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 5 overall (tied)-5
Flow:  -1.00; (41.75 stops OF opp [No.9] – 42.75 stops BY opp [No.4] / No.5 overall
Striping:  -0.37; (-0.75) conversions [No. 9] – (-0.37) conversions [No. 6] / No. 7 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -15; (524 [No. 5] – 539 [No. 9]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Fever have been the third best shooters in the league.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Scoring Pace

100+ points: 1
90-99 points: 11
80-89 points: 15
70-79 points: 23
60-69 points: 4
<60 points: 0



No. 6 Chicago Sky, 1-4 (28)
[2015 Abacus rating: 3]

KK:  -2; (0 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -1.20; (42.6 stops OF opp [No.7] – 43.8 stops BY opp [No.6] / No.6 overall
Striping:  -1.10; (-0.60) conversions [No. 7] – (+0.50) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +86; (586 [No. 1] – 500 [No. 4]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sky have been the WNBA’s top rebounders at the season’s outset.


No. 6 New York Liberty, 2-2 (28)
[2015 Abacus rating: 1]

KK:  -1; (1 Road Win – 2 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)-5
Flow:  +3.25; (51.5 stops OF opp [No.1] – 48.25 stops BY opp [No.11] / No.4 overall
Striping:  -1.50; (-0.75) conversions [No. 9] – (+0.75) opp conversions [No. 9] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +22; (467 [No. 9] – 445 [No. 2]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: Just like last year, the rugged Libs play the league’s best FG defense (.339).



ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Scoring Differential

1-5 points: 8 games
6-10 points: 11 games
11-15 points: 3 games
16-20 points: 2 games
>20: 3 games



No. 8 Connecticut Sun, 1-3 (31.5)
[2015 Abacus rating: 9]

KK:  -1; (1 Road Win – 2 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)-5
Flow:  -7.50; (41.25 stops OF opp [No.11] – 48.75 stops BY opp [No.12] / No.12 overall
Striping:  +0.25; (-1.50) conversions [No. 11] – (-1.75) conversions [No. 2] / No. 4 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -47; (468 [No. 8] – 515 [No. 5]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun struggle offensively, No. 12 in shooting (.367) and No. 11 in scoring (72.5 ppg).
No. 9 Washington Mystics, 2-3 (33)
[2015 Abacus rating: 7]

KK:  -1; (2 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)-5
Flow:  -1.40; (43.6 stops OF opp [No.5] – 45.0 stops BY opp [No.7] / No.7 overall
Striping:  -1.30; (-0.70) conversions [No. 8] – (+0.60) opp conversions [No. 8] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -51; (475 [No. 7] – 526 [No. 8]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mystics rank first in 3-point accuracy (.378).



ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Masters of the Craft (Part 2)

Are not the exceptionally inept worthy of some recognition? Here are the teams that hold a Bottom Four offensive and defensive ranking in our key elements of play: FG shooting, three-point shooting, PPG, Offensive Rebounding, Turnovers and SPOT-t.

FG%: Connecticut, Dallas
3FG%: Chicago
PPG: Washington
OR%: Phoenix
TO%: Seattle, Washington
SPOR-t: Phoenix, San Antonio



No. 10 San Antonio Stars, 1-3 (34)
[2015 Abacus rating: 12]

KK:  -2; (0 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -3.50; (41.75 stops OF opp [No.9] – 45.25 stops BY opp [No.8] / No.11 overall
Striping:  +2.63; (+0.75) conversions [No. 3] – (-1.88) opp conversions [No. 1] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  -97; (457 [No. 10] – 554 [No. 11]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: The scrappy Stars rank No. 3 in scoring defense.


No. 10 Seattle Storm, 1-3 (34)
[2015 Abacus rating: 11]

KK:  -1; (1 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall (tied)-5
Flow:  -3.25; (42.25 stops OF opp [No.8] – 45.50 stops BY opp [No.9] / No.9 overall (tied)
Striping:  -0.37; (+1.13) conversions [No. 2] - (+1.50) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 7 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -90; (432 [No. 11] – 522 [No. 6]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Storm squander one in five possessions by means of a turnover.


No. 12 Phoenix Mercury, 0-4 (37)
[2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  -2; (0 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -3.25; (42.75 stops OF opp [No.6] – 46.0 stops BY opp [No.10] / No.9 overall (tied)
Striping:  +0.25; (+1.50) conversions [No. 1] – (+1.25) opp conversions [No. 11] / No. 4 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -165; (401 [No. 12] – 566 [No. 12]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: It’s puzzling how such tall timber rebounds so poorly, dead last at the offensive end.