Monday, June 13, 2016

WNBA “20”16: 4-Week Progress Report

The toughest gig in professional sports just might be WNBA rookie. We’re not referring to some nominally first-year player with oodles of international experience, but the top-notch collegiate players.

NBA rookies tend to hit the proverbial wall as the new year settles itself in. The women get drafted, indoctrinated and put to work within about six-week span … all on the heels of a full slate of collegiate play.

Over and above the physical toll of such an uninterrupted schedule, a WNBA rookie is playing with and against some 75% of the most accomplished female players on the planet. Hasn’t Breanna Stewart lost more games over the course of four weeks in the Pacific Northwest than she did in four years at the University of Geno?


Methinks the wily Auriemma will ensure that his latest prodigy’s Olympic experience is not overly taxing this go ‘round.

The following data reflects play through Friday, June 10.

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

(The criteria is explained below...2-week data available here.)


No. 1 Los Angeles Sparks, 8-0 (7)
[2-week Abacus rating: 1
2015 Abacus rating: 10]

KK:  +5; (5 Road Wins – 0 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall (tied)
Flow:  +6.13; (44.63 stops OF opp [No.4] – 38.50 stops BY opp [No.1] / No.1 overall
Striping:  +1.63; (+0.75) conversions [No. 3] – (-0.88) opp conversions [No. 1]) / No. 1 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +67; (557 [No. 3] – 490 [No. 3]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sparks top the “W” in both shooting (.414) and defending (.218) the three-ball.

No. 2 Minnesota Lynx, 9-0 (10.5)
[2-week Abacus rating: 2
2015 Abacus rating: 2]

KK:  +5; (5 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall (tied)
Flow:  +5.60; (47.0 stops OF opp [No.1] – 41.4 stops BY opp [No.5] / No.2 overall
Striping:  +0.50; (+0.67) conversions [No. 5] – (+0.17) opp conversions [No. 8] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +112; (564 [No. 2] – 452 [No. 1]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: Does former Lynx player (an ex-Link?) Devereaux Peters feel any satisfaction in her former squad’s league-worst Offensive Rebounding during Weeks 3 & 4?

No. 3 Chicago Sky, 5-4 (18)
[2-week Abacus rating: 6
2015 Abacus rating: 3]

KK:  +1; (3 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall
Flow:  +2.56; (43.22 stops OF opp [No.5] – 40.67 stops BY opp [No.2] / No.4 overall
Striping:  -0.50; (+0.39) conversions [No. 7] – (+0.89) opp conversions [No. 10] / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +119; (620 [No. 1] – 501 [No. 4]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sky shot a blistering .522 during a perfect, 4-0 Fortnight #2, .432 from behind the three-point stripe.


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%: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles
PPG: Los Angeles, Minnesota
OR%: Chicago
TO%: Los Angeles, Minnesota
SPOR-t: Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota


No. 4 Atlanta Dream, 6-3 (23)
[2-week Abacus rating: 3
2015 Abacus rating: 8]

KK:  +2; (4 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall
Flow:  +3.89; (47.0 stops OF opp [No.1] – 43.11 stops BY opp [No.8] / No.3 overall
Striping:  -2.28; [-2.17) conversions [No. 12] – (+0.11) conversions [No. 7] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +8; (536 [No. 5] – 528 [No. 5]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: Through four weeks and nine games, both the Dream and their opponents have shot an identical .410 from the field.

No. 4 New York Liberty, 4-4 (23)
[2-week Abacus rating: 6
2015 Abacus rating: 1]

KK:  -1; (2 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  +1.38; (45.88 stops OF opp [No.3] – 44.50 stops BY opp [No.11] / No.5 overall
Striping:  -0.38; (-0.38) conversions [No. 10] – (0.00) opp conversions [No. 6] / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  +12; (499 [No. 11] – 487 [No. 2]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: New York is the second-most accurate (.361) three-point shooting team, though its usage rate (.177) is second from the bottom.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Pace (Weeks 3 & 4)

100+ points: 2  [3 overall]
90-99 points: 9  [20 overall]
80-89 points: 14  [29 overall]
70-79 points: 18  [41 overall]
60-69 points: 6  [10 overall]
<60 points: 1  [1 overall]


No. 6 Dallas Wings, 3-5 (25.5)
[2-week Abacus rating: 4
2015 Abacus rating: 6]

KK:  -1; (2 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -5.00; (39.0 stops OF opp [No.12] – 44.0 stops BY opp [No.10] / No.11 overall
Striping:  +1.63; (+0.75) conversions [No. 3] – (-0.88) conversions [No. 1] / No. 1 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -33; (544 [No. 4] – 577 [No. 12]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Wings were badly outplayed (by over 11 possessions per game) during their four-game losing streak.

No. 7 Indiana Fever, 4-5 (26)
[2-week Abacus rating: 5
2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  -1; (1 Road Win – 2 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -3.11; (40.33 stops OF opp [No.9] – 43.44 stops BY opp [No.9] / No.9 overall
Striping:  +0.67; (+0.33) conversions [No. 8] – (-0.33) conversions [No. 3] / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  -44; (510 [No. 8] – 554 [No. 7]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Fever attempted only 15 free throws per game in Weeks 3 & 4, down from 28 during the season’s first segment.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Differential (Weeks 3 & 4)

1-5 points: 2  [10 overall]
6-10 points: 12  [23 overall]
11-15 points: 5  [8 overall]
16-20 points: 2  [4 overall]
>20: 4  [7 overall]


No. 8 Seattle Storm, 3-6 (33.5)
[2-week Abacus rating: 10
2015 Abacus rating: 11]

KK:  -2; (1 Road Win – 3 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)
Flow:  -0.11; (41.11 stops OF opp [No.6] – 41.22 stops BY opp [No.4] / No.7 overall
Striping:  +0.33; (+1.39) conversions [No. 1] - (+1.06) opp conversions [No. 11] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -56; (505 [No. 10] – 561 [No. 9]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Storm offense produced 7.5 fewer empty possessions  and 8.4 more points per game during Weeks 3 & 4.

No. 8 Washington Mystics, 4-6 (33.5)
[2-week Abacus rating: 9
2015 Abacus rating: 7]

KK:  0; (4 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall
Flow:  -2.20; (40.2 stops OF opp [No.10] – 42.4 stops BY opp [No.6] / No.8 overall
Striping:  -0.75; (+0.10) conversions [No. 9] – (+0.85) opp conversions [No. 9] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -51; (519 [No. 6] – 570 [No. 10]) / No. 9 overall (tied)

Abacus Revelation: Only the Mystics (and Stars) lose the nightly turnover battle by three or more.


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%: Indiana, San Antonio
PPG: Connecticut, Washington
OR%: Los Angeles, Phoenix
TO%: Seattle, Washington
SPOR-t: Seattle


No. 10 San Antonio Stars, 1-6 (35)
[2-week Abacus rating: 10
2015 Abacus rating: 12]

KK:  -3; (0 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall (tied)
Flow:  -3.43; (39.14 stops OF opp [No.11] – 42.57 stops BY opp [No.7] / No.10 overall
Striping:  +0.64; (+0.43) conversions [No. 6] – (-0.21) opp conversions [No. 4] / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  -51; (509 [No. 9] – 560 [No. 8]) / No. 9 overall (tied)

Abacus Revelation: San Antonio’s opposition converted in excess of 50% of its three-point attempts (22 of 43) during Weeks 3 & 4 – over 40% (.407) on the season.

No. 11 Phoenix Mercury, 3-6 (35.5)
[2-week Abacus rating: 12
2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  -2; (0 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)
Flow:  0.22; (41.0 stops OF opp [No.7] – 40.78 stops BY opp [No.3] / No.6 overall
Striping:  -0.39; (+1.33) conversions [No. 2] – (+1.72) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  -59; (516 [No. 7] – 575 [No. 11]) / No. 12 overall


Abacus Revelation: The enigmatic Merc improved their “Flow” by over six possessions a game during the season’s second fortnight. 

No. 12 Connecticut Sun, 2-7 (41.5)
[2-week Abacus rating: 8
2015 Abacus rating: 9]

KK:  -3; (1 Road Win – 4 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall (tied)
Flow:  -6.00; (40.90 stops OF opp [No.8] – 46.90 stops BY opp [No.12] / No.12 overall
Striping:  -0.55; (-0.61) conversions [No. 11] – (-0.06) conversions [No. 5] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -49; (496 [No. 12] – 545 [No. 6]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun’s cloudy outlook owes much to its league worst opponent scoring (87.8 ppg) during Weeks 3 & 4.


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.