Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WNBA “20”16: 10-Week Progress Report



Heading into the WNBA’s most recent Olympic sabbatical four seasons ago, Dan Hughes’s San Antonio (then-Silver) Stars were playing the bestball in the league. Alas, the Becky Hammon Bunch never recaptured their mojo, were summarily eliminated from the 2012 playoffs by LA, and seem to have been struggling ever since.

This time around, it is the Olympian-rich Minnesota Lynx who enter the moratorium at the top of their game, having outplayed their last six opponents by an astounding 9.5 possessions per game.

Similarly, the Indiana Fever righted their ship and closed strong (7-3) after a shaky start in their attempt to send off retiring superstar Tamika Catchings and relocating head coach Stephanie White in style. Ironically, it was the opportunistic Fever who got on a roll and stole the ’12 title from the defending champion Lynx.

Of course, with but 12 teams, the “W” is so laden with talent that all teams, except perhaps for the snake-bitten Stars, have good cause for optimism, the belief that a well-timed visit to that elusive “Zone” can lead to a championship.

While the quadrennial TV extravaganza that is the Olympic Games provides a rare and welcome peek at international women’s ball – I’m particularly anxious to see Australia’s Liz Cambage again – I’ll be counting the days till the WNBA's return on Aug. 26.



The following data reflects play through Friday, July 22.

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

Progress Reports for 2-Weeks, 4-Weeks, 6-Weeks and 8-Weeks are also available.

(The criteria is explained below.)


No. 1 Los Angeles Sparks, 21-3 (11)
[8-week Abacus rating: 1
6-week Abacus rating: 1
4-week Abacus rating: 1
2-week Abacus rating: 1
2015 Abacus rating: 10]

KK:  +9; (10 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall
Flow:  +4.08; (41.92 stops OF opp [No.5] – 37.83 stops BY opp [No.1] / No.2 overall
Striping:  +0.71; (+1.08) conversions [No. 5] – (+0.38) opp conversions [No. 4] / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  +39; (582 [No. 3] – 543 [No. 4]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: Over the last 8 weeks, the Sparks have shot over 50% (.502) from the field.

No. 2 Minnesota Lynx, 21-4 (14)
[8-week Abacus rating: 2
6-week Abacus rating: 1
4-week Abacus rating: 2
2-week Abacus rating: 2
2015 Abacus rating: 2]

KK:  +8; (10 Road Wins – 2 Home Loss) / No. 2 overall
Flow:  +6.28; (46.24 stops OF opp [No.1] – 39.96 stops BY opp [No.2] / No.1 overall
Striping:  -0.70; (+0.26) conversions [No. 9] – (+0.96) opp conversions [No.10] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  +144; (605 [No. 1] – 461 [No. 1]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: On the heels of a rare stretch of mediocre play, the Lynx have run off six consecutive victories by an average of 17.5 points..

No. 3 New York Liberty, 18-8 (19)
[8-week Abacus rating: 3
6-week Abacus rating: 4
4-week Abacus rating: 4
2-week Abacus rating: 6
2015 Abacus rating: 1]

KK:  +5; (10 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall
Flow:  +2.31; (44.35 stops OF opp [No.2] – 42.04 stops BY opp [No.7] / No. 3 overall
Striping:  -1.02; (-0.19) conversions [No. 11] – (+0.83) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  +83; (581 [No. 4] – 498 [No. 2]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: On the season, the Liberty are 5-0 in games decided by five points or fewer.



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, Minnesota

3FG%: Los Angeles, New York

PPG: Los Angeles, Minnesota

OR%: Minnesota, New York

TO%: Los Angeles, Minnesota

SPOR-t: Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York



No. 4 Chicago Sky, 11-13 (21)
[8-week Abacus rating: 6
6-week Abacus rating: 3
4-week Abacus rating: 3
2-week Abacus rating: 6
2015 Abacus rating: 3]

KK:  -1; (5 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall
Flow:  +1.00; (41.67 stops OF opp [No.6] – 40.67 stops BY opp [No.3] / No.4 overall
Striping:  -0.42; (+0.69) conversions [No. 7] – (+1.10) opp conversions [No. 11] / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  +60; (600 [No. 2] – 540 [No. 3]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: The league’s second best three-point shooters (.387) sport the lowest usage rate (.158). Cause & Effect, or a strategic flaw?

No. 5 Indiana Fever, 12-12 (21.5)
[8-week Abacus rating: 4
6-week Abacus rating: 9
4-week Abacus rating: 7
-week Abacus rating: 5
2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  +1; (7 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
Flow:  -1.37; (40.04 stops OF opp [No.8] – 41.42 stops BY opp [No.5] / No.7 overall
Striping:  +0.94; (+1.04) conversions [No. 6] – (+0.10) conversions [No. 3] / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  -11; (540 [No. 8] – 551 [No. 6]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: Through 10 weeks, the Fever are the best defensive rebounding team(.808) in the “W”.



ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Scoring Pace, Weeks 9 & 10 (32 games)

100+ points: 1  [11 overall – 3.8%]

90-99 points: 14  [64 overall – 21.9%]

80-89 points: 20  [90 overall – 30.8%]

70-79 points: 17  [92 overall – 31.5%]

60-69 points: 9  [31 overall – 10.6%]

<60 points: 3  [4 overall – 1.4%]



No. 6 Atlanta Dream, 13-12 (26.5)
[8-week Abacus rating: 7
6-week Abacus rating: 6
4-week Abacus rating: 4
2-week Abacus rating: 3
2015 Abacus rating: 8]

KK:  +1; (5 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall) (tied)
Flow:  +0.80; (43.20 stops OF opp [No.3] – 42.40 stops BY opp [No.8] / No.5 overall
Striping:  -1.38; (-1.60) conversions [No. 12] – (-0.22) conversions [No. 1] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +7; (561 [No. 5] – 554 [No. 7]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Dream have attempted 106 more FT’s then their opponents, the largest differential in the league.

No. 7 Dallas Wings, 9-16 (29.5)
[8-week Abacus rating: 4
6-week Abacus rating: 5
4-week Abacus rating: 6
2-week Abacus rating: 4
2015 Abacus rating: 6]

KK:  -3; (4 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  -3.68; (39.96 stops OF opp [No.10] – 43.64 stops BY opp [No.11] / No.12 overall
Striping:  +1.36; (+1.24) conversions [No. 3] – (-0.12) conversions [No. 2] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  -48; (557 [No. 6] – 605 [No. 12]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Wings were atypically outrebounded by 14 per game in their last five outings.



ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Scoring Differential, Weeks 9 & 10 (32 games)

1-5 points: 8  [41 overall – 28.1%]

6-10 points: 9  [52 overall – 35.6%]

11-15 points: 5  [23 overall – 15.8%]

16-20 points: 5  [13 overall – 8.9%]

>20: 5  [17 overall – 11.6%]



No. 8 Phoenix Mercury, 10-14 (30.5)
[8-week Abacus rating: 10
6-week Abacus rating: 10
4-week Abacus rating: 11
2-week Abacus rating: 12
2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  -3; (3 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +0.29; (42.00 stops OF opp [No.4] – 41.71 stops BY opp [No.6] / No.6 overall
Striping:  -0.25; (+1.13 conversions [No. 4] – (+1.38) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -68; (505 [No. 10] – 573 [No. 10]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 9 & 10, the Merc and their opposition combined to drain 57 of 127 treys, a sizzling .449 clip.

No. 9 Connecticut Sun, 8-16 (32.5)
[8-week Abacus rating: 11
6-week Abacus rating: 12
4-week Abacus rating: 12
2-week Abacus rating: 8
2015 Abacus rating: 9]

KK:  -3; (5 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  -2.50; (41.63 stops OF opp [No.7] – 44.13 stops BY opp [No.12] / No.9 overall
Striping:  -0.44; (+0.13) conversions [No. 10] – (+0.56) conversions [No. 5] / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +2; (549 [No. 7] – 547 [No. 5]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun played the third best FG defense (.430) in the league during Weeks 9 & 10.

No. 9 Washington Mystics, 9-15 (32.5)
[8-week Abacus rating: 8
6-week Abacus rating: 7
4-week Abacus rating: 8
2-week Abacus rating: 9
2015 Abacus rating: 7]

KK:  -3; (5 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  -2.87; (40.04 stops OF opp [No.8] – 42.92 stops BY opp [No.9] / No.10 overall
Striping:  +0.54; (+1.40) conversions [No. 2] – (+0.85) opp conversions [No. 8] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  -65; (507 [No. 9] – 572 [No.9]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: While dropping their last five games, the Mystics yielded .485 FG shooting (.425 on threes).



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 SPOR-t..

FG%: Dallas

3FG%: Connecticut, San Antonio

PPG: N/A

OR%: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle

TO%: New York, Phoenix

SPOR-t: Phoenix, Seattle, Washington



No. 11 Seattle Storm, 9-15 (33)
[8-week Abacus rating: 9
6-week Abacus rating: 8
4-week Abacus rating: 8
2-week Abacus rating: 10
2015 Abacus rating: 11]

KK:  -4; (3 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall
Flow:  -1.46; (39.71 stops OF opp [No.12] – 41.17 stops BY opp [No.4] / No.8 overall
Striping:  +1.02; (+1.88) conversions [No. 1] - (+0.85) opp conversions [No. 8] / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  -109; (487 [No. 12] – 596 [No. 11]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: Nearly one of every three (32.6%) Seattle shots is a three-pointer, the highest usage rate in the league.

No. 12 San Antonio Stars, 5-18 (41)
[8-week Abacus rating: 12
6-week Abacus rating: 11
4-week Abacus rating: 10
2-week Abacus rating: 10
2015 Abacus rating: 12]

KK:  -6; (1 Road Win – 7 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
Flow:  -3.35; (39.87 stops OF opp [No.11] – 43.22 stops BY opp [No.10] / No.11 overall
Striping:  -0.26; (+0.35) conversions [No. 8] – (+0.61) opp conversions [No. 6] / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  -74; (492 [No. 11] – 566 [No.8]) / No. 11 overall 

Abacus Revelation: The Stars’ offense struggled to 63.8 points per game on .391 FG shooting during Weeks 9 & 10.


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.