Monday, July 11, 2016

WNBA “20”16: 8-Week Progress Report

In a sport so predicated on snap decisions made in the course of fast-moving play, the combination of a sound, versatile skill set with exceptional court awareness is a valuable commodity. My paragon for this under-appreciated role on a successful team is Janeth Arcain of the original Houston Comets. The Coopers, Swoopes and Thompson got the accolades; Kim Perrot’s brave struggles inspired and touched our hearts. But a string of championships does not ensue without the contributions of the steady, heady 5’9” Brazilian.

Indiana Fever veteran Erlana Larkins has been performing that kind of role in recent seasons for a consistent contender.


Do you suppose the confidence and caginess of grizzled vets Jantel Lavender (I just love her interior passing skills!) and Alana Beard can complement the performance of the LA Sparks, a team that has been teasin greatness for several seasons.

Time will tell.

The following data reflects play through Friday, July 8.

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 Week 2, Week 4 and Week 6 are also available.

(The criteria is explained below.)

No. 1 Los Angeles Sparks, 17-1 (10.5)
[6-week Abacus rating: 1
4-week Abacus rating: 1
2-week Abacus rating: 1
2015 Abacus rating: 10]

KK:  +6; (7 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall (tied)
Flow:  +4.94; (43.00 stops OF opp [No.4] – 38.06 stops BY opp [No.1] / No.2 overall
Striping:  +0.97; (+0.89) conversions [No. 5] – (-0.08) opp conversions [No. 1]) / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +39; (568 [No. 5] – 529 [No. 3]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sparks rank No. 1 in both shooting (.391) and defending (.281) the three-ball.

No. 2 Minnesota Lynx, 15-4 (13)
[6-week Abacus rating: 1
4-week Abacus rating: 2
2-week Abacus rating: 2
2015 Abacus rating: 2]

KK:  +6; (8 Road Wins – 2 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall (tied)
Flow:  +5.26; (46.58 stops OF opp [No.1] – 41.32 stops BY opp [No.3] / No.1 overall
Striping:  -0.50; (+0.63) conversions [No. 6] – (+1.13) opp conversions [No.11] / No. 9 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +99; (570 [No. 4] – 471 [No. 1]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Lynx’s generally reliable defense allowed their opposition to hit nearly 40% of their three-pointers during Weeks 7 & 8.

No. 3 New York Liberty, 14-6 (19)
[6-week Abacus rating: 4
4-week Abacus rating: 4
2-week Abacus rating: 6
2015 Abacus rating: 1]

KK:  +5; (9 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall
Flow:  +1.90; (44.95 stops OF opp [No.2] – 43.05 stops BY opp [No.11] / No. 3 overall
Striping:  -0.75; (-0.05) conversions [No. 11] – (+0.70) opp conversions [No. 9] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  +78; (572 [No. 3] – 494 [No. 2]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: While only one of six Liberty shots is a trey, they hit three of every eight of their tries (No. 2 in the league) from behind the arc.


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%: New York, Los Angeles

PPG: Los Angeles, Minnesota

OR%: Chicago, New York

TO%: Los Angeles

SPOR-t: Minnesota, New York


No. 4 Dallas Wings, 9-11 (24)
[6-week Abacus rating: 5
4-week Abacus rating: 6
2-week Abacus rating: 4
2015 Abacus rating: 6]

KK:  -1; (4 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -2.35; (40.65 stops OF opp [No.9] – 43.00 stops BY opp [No.10] / No.10 overall
Striping:  +1.08; (+1.13) conversions [No. 2] – (-0.05) conversions [No. 3] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +5; (580 [No. 2] – 575 [No. 10]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: Little surprise that the league’s best offensive rebounding team (.336) includes savvy vets Courtney Paris and Plenette Pierson.

No. 4 Indiana Fever, 8-11 (24)
[6-week Abacus rating: 9
4-week Abacus rating: 7
-week Abacus rating: 5
2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  0; (5 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
Flow:  -1.95; (40.63 stops OF opp [No.10] – 42.58 stops BY opp [No.7] / No.8 overall (tied)
Striping:  +0.68; (+0.58) conversions [No. 7] – (-0.11) conversions [No. 2] / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  -8; (533 [No. 8] – 541 [No. 4]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: By this standard of measurement (and despite a 3-2 record), the Fever were the “W’s” best team during Weeks 7 & 8..


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Scoring Pace, Weeks 7 & 8 (31 games)

100+ points: 1  [10 overall – 4.4%]

90-99 points: 12  [50 overall – 21.9%]

80-89 points: 26  [70 overall – 30.7%]

70-79 points: 15  [75 overall – 32.9%]

60-69 points: 8  [22 overall – 9.6%]

<60 points: 0  [1 overall – 0.4%]


No. 6 Chicago Sky, 7-11 (24.5)
[6-week Abacus rating: 3
4-week Abacus rating: 3
2-week Abacus rating: 6
2015 Abacus rating: 3]

KK:  -1; (3 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  +0.72; (42.00 stops OF opp [No.5] – 41.28 stops BY opp [No.2] / No.5 overall
Striping:  -0.50; (+0.39) conversions [No. 9] – (+0.89) opp conversions [No. 10] / No. 9 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +48; (592 [No. 1] – 544 [No. 5]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: On the season, opponents take 7.5 more FT’s per game than the Sky, the league’s largest deficit.


No. 7 Atlanta Dream, 10-9 (25.5)
[6-week Abacus rating: 6
4-week Abacus rating: 4
2-week Abacus rating: 3
2015 Abacus rating: 8]

KK:  0; (4 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall) (tied)
Flow:  +1.53; (44.32 stops OF opp [No.3] – 42.79 stops BY opp [No.8] / No.4 overall
Striping:  -1.84; (-1.74) conversions [No. 12] – (+0.11) conversions [No. 3] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +12; (561 [No. 6] – 549 [No. 6]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Dream have been the league’s worst three-point shooters (currently .255) for a month now.



ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Scoring Differential, Weeks 7 & 8 (31 games)

1-5 points: 15  [33 overall – 28.9%]

6-10 points: 8  [43 overall – 37.7%]

11-15 points: 4  [18 overall – 15.8%]

16-20 points: 2  [8 overall – 7.0%]

>20: 2  [12 overall – 10.5%]


No. 8 Washington Mystics, 9-10 (28)
[6-week Abacus rating: 7
4-week Abacus rating: 8
2-week Abacus rating: 9
2015 Abacus rating: 7]

KK:  -1; (5 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -1.26; (41.16 stops OF opp [No.6] – 42.42 stops BY opp [No.6] / No.7 overall
Striping:  +0.45; (+1.05) conversions [No. 3] – (+0.61) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  -40; (518 [No. 9] – 558 [No.7]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 7 & 8, the slick Mystics played the league’s most turnover-free ball (.117).

No. 9 Seattle Storm, 7-12 (32)
[6-week Abacus rating: 8
4-week Abacus rating: 8
2-week Abacus rating: 10
2015 Abacus rating: 11]

KK:  -2; (3 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)
Flow:  -1.95; (39.63 stops OF opp [No.12] – 41.58 stops BY opp [No.5] / No.8 overall (tied)
Striping:  +1.00; (+1.61) conversions [No. 1] - (0.61) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  -119; (484 [No. 12] – 603 [No. 12]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Storm rest at the bottom of the barrel in both offensive (.208) and defensive (.688) rebounding.


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, Indiana, San Antonio

PPG: Connecticut

OR%: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle

TO%: New York, Seattle

SPOR-t: Phoenix, San Antonio, Seattle 


No. 10 Phoenix Mercury, 8-12 (34.5)
[6-week Abacus rating: 10
4-week Abacus rating: 11
2-week Abacus rating: 12
2015 Abacus rating: 4]

KK:  -2; (3 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)
Flow:  +0.20; (41.75 stops OF opp [No.7] – 41.55 stops BY opp [No.4] / No.6 overall
Striping:  -0.33; (+0.95 conversions [No. 4] – (+1.28) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  -71; (514 [No. 10] – 585 [No. 11]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: First in points scored per game (86.4) while last in points allowed (87.5) says it all.

No. 11 Connecticut Sun, 5-13 (37)
[6-week Abacus rating: 12
4-week Abacus rating: 12
2-week Abacus rating: 8
2015 Abacus rating: 9]

KK:  -4; (2 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall
Flow:  -4.61; (40.72 stops OF opp [No.8] – 45.33 stops BY opp [No.12] / No.12 overall
Striping:  -0.11; (+0.11) conversions [No. 10] – (+0.22) conversions [No. 5] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -20; (540 [No. 7] – 560 [No. 8]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: Opponents took 10 more FT’s per game than the Sun during Weeks 7 & 8.

No. 12 San Antonio Stars, 5-14 (40)
[6-week Abacus rating: 11
4-week Abacus rating: 10
2-week Abacus rating: 10
2015 Abacus rating: 12]

KK:  -5; (1 Road Win – 6 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
Flow:  -2.37; (40.42 stops OF opp [No.11] – 42.79 stops BY opp [No.8] / No.11 overall
Striping:  -0.13; (+0.39) conversions [No. 8] – (+0.53) opp conversions [No. 6] / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  -53; (510 [No. 11] – 563 [No. 9]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Stars’ scrappy defense ranks third in points allowed per game (80.5).


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.