Tuesday, June 27, 2017

WNBA 2017: 6-Week Progress Report


As the WNBA soars into its third decade – Hip, Hip, Hooray! – the scoring charts are topped by two of the tallest players: 6’8” Britney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury (23.1 ppg) and Minnesota’s 6’6” Sylvia Fowles (20.9 ppg). The Top Ten also includes the “length” of Tina Charles, EDD and Stewie as well as a 6’2” package of extraordinary athleticism named Nneka.

Curiously, despite the presence of all these impactful “Bigs” and more, the ladies of the WNBA as a whole are emulating their NBA brethren in their liberal use of the three-point shot. This season’s overall usage rate of .256 is the highest it’s been since 2012 and has been exceeded in only three of the circuit’s first 20 campaigns.

Perhaps fittingly, Sun sophomore post Jonquell Jones (52.9%) and Lynx power forward Rebekkah Brunson (50.0%) are the WNBA’s most accurate long-distance snipers.

The following rankings reflect play through Friday, June 23. An explanation of the criteria is available here. An index of the season's b-weekly rankings is available here.


No. 1 Minnesota Lynx, 10-1 (11)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 1]

KK:  +5; (6 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall
Flow:  +6.09; (45.5 stops OF opp [No. 1] – 39.5 stops BY opp [No. 2] / No. 1 overall
Striping:  -0.18; (+1.00) conversions [No. 4] – (+1.18) opp conversions [No. 8] / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  +152; (646 [No. 1] – 494 [No. 1]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Lynx rank in the bottom third of the “W” in defending the 3-ball, yielding 10 out of 22 to Connecticut in their sole loss.


No. 2 Phoenix Mercury, 7-5 (15.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 2]

KK:  +1; (4 Road Win – 3 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
Flow:  +2.00; (43.8 stops OF opp [No. 3] – 41.8 stops BY opp [No. 7] / No. 3 overall
Striping:  +0.58; (+0.71) conversions [No. 6] – (+0.13) opp conversions [No. 3] / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +14; (527 [No. 9] – 513 [No. 2]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mercury were the league’s best Offensive Rebounding team (.299) during Weeks 5 & 6.


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%: Minnesota
3FG%: NONE
PPG: Los Angeles, Minnesota
OR%: Connecticut, Minnesota
TO%: Atlanta
SPOR-t: Connecticut, Minnesota, New York


No. 3 Connecticut Sun, 6-5 (16.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 7]

KK:  +2; (4 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)
Flow:  +0.45; (42.3 stops OF opp [No. 4] – 41.8 stops BY opp [No. 8] / No. 8 overall
Striping:  +0.45; (+1.09) conversions [No. 3] – (+0.64) conversions [No. 5] / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  +98; (611 [No. 2] – 513 [No. 2]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun have shot 3’s at a 40+% rate in 6 of their 11 games.


No. 4 Washington Mystics, 7-5 (17)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 3]

KK:  0; (2 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  +1.75; (41.3 stops OF opp [No. 6] – 39.6 stops BY opp [No. 3] / No. 4 overall
Striping:  +0.67; (+2.17) conversions [No. 1] – (+1.50) opp conversions [No. 11] / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +31; (601 [No. 3] – 570 [No. 6]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mystics hustle their way to over 10 OR’s per game.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Pace 24 games [72 overall]

100+ points: 2 games [5 overall]
90-99 points: 12 games [30 overall]
80-89 points: 19 games [47 overall]
70-79 points: 12 games [45 overall]
60-69 points: 1 games [14 overall]
<60 points: 2 games [3 overall]


No. 5 Los Angeles Sparks, 8-3 (20.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 8
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 5]

KK:  +2; (2 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)
Flow:  +2.91; (41.0 stops OF opp [No. 7] – 38.1 stops BY opp [No. 1] / No. 2 overall
Striping:  -0.47; (+0.77) conversions [No. 5] – (+1.18) opp conversions [No. 8]) / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  -7; (568 [No. 5] – 575 [No. 7]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sparks are the league’s most accurate shooters (.488).


No. 6 New York Liberty, 7-5 (27)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 7]

KK:  -1; (2 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall
Flow:  +1.33; (42.3 stops OF opp [No. 5] – 40.9 stops BY opp [No. 6] / No. 5 overall
Striping:  -0.62; (+0.33) conversions [No. 10] – (+0.96) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  +47; (579 [No. 4] – 532 [No. 4]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: Oddly, the Libs rank first in FG defense (.411) but last in 3FG defense (.376).


No. 7 Atlanta Dream, 5-6 (29.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 4]

KK:  +1; (3 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
Flow:  +0.73; (43.8 stops OF opp [No. 2] – 43.1 stops BY opp [No. 10] / No. 7 overall
Striping:  -1.36; [-1.32) conversions [No. 12] – (+0.05) conversions [No. 2] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  -5; (533 [No. 8] – 538 [No.5]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Dream own the lowest TO rate (.123) in the league.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Differential 24 games [72 overall]

1-5 points: 10 games [21 overall]
6-10 points: 4 games [24 overall]
11-15 points: 3 games [11 overall]
16-20 points:  5 games [8 overall]
>20:  2 games [8 overall]


No.8 Dallas Wings, 7-8 (32)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 9]

KK:  0; (4 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -3.00; (39.3 stops OF opp [No. 11] – 42.3 stops BY opp [No. 9] / No. 10 overall
Striping:  +0.03; (+0.70) conversions [No. 7] – (+0.67) conversions [No. 6] / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  -36; (567 [No. 6] – 603 [No. 11]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Wings stand No. 4 in per-game scoring despite ranking tenth in FG% and 3FG%.


No. 9 Seattle Storm, 6-6 (32.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 9
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 5]

KK:  -2; (1 Road Win – 3 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
Flow:  +1.08; (41.0 stops OF opp [No. 7] – 39.9 stops BY opp [No. 5] / No. 6 overall
Striping:  +0.29; (+1.96) conversions [No. 2] - (+1.67) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  -78; (524 [No. 10] – 602 [No. 10]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Storm allow the opposition a whopping 10 Offensive Rebounds a game.


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


No. 10 Chicago Sky, 3-9 (35.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 10]

KK:  -2; (3 Road Win – 5 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
Flow:  -4.92; (40.9 stops OF opp [No. 9] – 45.8 stops BY opp [No. 12] / No. 12 overall
Striping:  +1.04; (+0.38) conversions [No. 9] – (-0.67) opp conversions [No. 1] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  -83; (515 [No. 12] – 598 [No. 9]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sky rank No. 2 in FG defense (.419).


No. 11 Indiana Fever, 6-6 (37)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 6
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 12]

KK:  0; (1 Road Win – 1 Home Loss) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -2.00; (37.7 stops OF opp [No. 12] – 39.7 stops BY opp [No. 4] / No. 9 overall
Striping:  -0.75; (+0.63) conversions [No. 8] – (+1.38) conversions [No. 10] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -64; (549 [No. 7] – 613 [No. 12]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Fever miss fewer free throws per game (2.58) than any other team.


No. 12 San Antonio Stars, 0-13 (38)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 12
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 11]

KK:  -6; (0 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
Flow:  -4.46; (40.2 stops OF opp [No. 10] – 44.6 stops BY opp [No. 11] / No. 11 overall
Striping:  +0.12; (+0.27) conversions [No. 11] – (+0.15) opp conversions [No. 4] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -55; (524 [No. 10] – 579 [No. 8]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: The still winless Stars rank No. 4 in defending the three-point shot.


Abacus Revelation for the Road / Random Ranking – Points per Possession Differential

Through 72 games, the WNBA has scored 11,789 points on what compute to be 11,104 possessions – a rate of 106.2 points per 100 possessions.

Minnesota +16.0 points per 100 possessions [112.0 (No. 2) – 96.0 (No. 1)]
Los Angeles +8.3 points per 100 possessions [112.9 (No. 1) – 104.6 (No. 5)]
Connecticut +5.4 points per 100 possessions [108.4 (No. 5) – 103.0 (No. 4)]
Phoenix +4.9 points per 100 possessions [104.8 (No. 9) – 99.9 (No. 2)]
Washington +4.8 points per 100 possessions [116.6 (No. 3) – 106.8 (No. 9)]
Seattle +2.0 points per 100 possessions [108.7 (No. 4) – 106.7 (No. 8)]
New York +0.9 points per 100 possessions [106.0 (No. 7) – 105.1 (No. 6)]
Dallas -3.6 points per 100 possessions [107.0 (No. 6) – 110.6 (No. 11)]
Atlanta -4.0 points per 100 possessions [97.0 (No. 10) – 101.0 (No. 3)]
Indiana -8.1 points per 100 possessions [105.8 (No. 8) – 113.9 (No. 12)]
Chicago -10.2 points per 100 possessions [96.1 (No. 11) – 106.3 (No. 7)]
San Antonio -12.4 points per 100 possessions [94.4 (No. 12) – 106.8 (No. 9)]

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

WNBA 2017: 4-Week Progress Report


During the prime of his Hall of Fame career, there was no defender who could disrupt Larry Bird’s game more than the Lakers’ Michael Cooper.

No surprise, then, to see Coach Cooper’s current Atlanta squad, while struggling mightily to score in the absence of their sabbatical-ing Angel, ranking among the league leaders in a variety of defensive categories. The Dreamgirls are No. 1 in “stops” per game; No. 2 in FG%, 3FG%, Points per Game, Points per Possession and Conversion Rate; and No.3 in TO%.

I notice that Cooper’s 23-year-old son is an assistant with the team – always a curious dynamic. Paul Silas, one of my all-time favorite players, coached with his son through some trying times in Charlotte several years ago – and hasn’t worked since, to my knowledge.

The “Mean” Performance (or should that be median?)

Through four weeks and 48 games, here’s what an average 2017 WNBA game looks like, numerically.

Possessions: 76.7
Points: 80.9  [PPP: 1.055]
FG: 28.7 – 65.7, .437
3FG: 5.53 – 16.84, .328
3PAr/Usage rate: .256
FT: 17.9 – 21.9, .818
(Off – Tot) Reb: 9.18 – 33.8  [OR% .272]
TO: 13.0  [TO% .147]

The following rankings reflect play through Friday, June 9. An explanation of the criteria is available here. An index for the season's bi-weekly rankings is available here.


No. 1 Minnesota Lynx, 8-0 (8)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 1]

KK:  +5; (5 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall
Flow:  +6.25; (45.6 stops OF opp [No. 3] – 39.4 stops BY opp [No. 3] / No. 1 overall
Striping:  +0.20; (+1.00) conversions [No. 4] – (+0.75) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +160; (649 [No. 1] – 489 [No. 1]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Lynx rank No. 1 in Conv. Rate (.518) AND opp. Conv. Rate (.437). What’s gonna happen when Ms. Moore starts making shots?

No. 2 Phoenix Mercury, 5-3 (12.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 7]

KK:  +1; (3 Road Win – 2 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +3.88; (46.0 stops OF opp [No. 2] – 42.1 stops BY opp [No. 7] / No. 2 overall
Striping:  +1.06; (+0.75) conversions [No. 5] – (-0.31) opp conversions [No. 2] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +17; (506 [No. 11] – 489 [No. 1]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mercury went from worst (72.0) to first (94.0) in per-game scoring during Weeks 3 & 4.

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%: NONE
3FG%: NONE
PPG: Minnesota
OR%: Connecticut, Minnesota
TO%: Atlanta, Los Angeles
SPOR-t: Minnesota


No. 3 Washington Mystics, 6-3 (14.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 2]

KK:  +1; (2 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 2 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +2.00; (41.9 stops OF opp [No. 6] – 39.9 stops BY opp [No. 4] / No. 4 overall
Striping:  +0.39; (+2.33) conversions [No. 1] – (+1.94) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +41; (603 [No. 2] – 562 [No. 6]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mystics lead the league in Points per Possession at 1.119.

No. 4 Atlanta Dream, 4-3 (23.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 4]

KK:  +1; (2 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 2 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +3.29; (46.6 stops OF opp [No. 1] – 43.3 stops BY opp [No. 9] / No. 3 overall
Striping:  -1.57; [-1.71) conversions [No. 12] – (-0.14) conversions [No. 1] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +29; (528 [No. 9] – 499 [No. 3]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 3 & 4, the Dream played the league’s best 3FG defense even though their opponents ranked second in usage.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Pace 24 games [48 overall]

100+ points: 3 games [3 overall]
90-99 points: 12 games [18 overall]
80-89 points: 10 games [28 overall]
70-79 points: 19 games [33 overall]
60-69 points: 4 games [13 overall]
<60 points: 0 games  [1 overall]


No. 5 Seattle Storm, 5-3 (25)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 9]

KK:  0; (1 Road Win – 1 Home Loss) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  +1.88; (40.1 stops OF opp [No. 9] – 38.3 stops BY opp [No. 1] / No. 5 overall
Striping:  +0.31; (+2.06) conversions [No. 2] - (+1.75) opp conversions [No. 11] / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  -68; (543 [No. 8] – 611 [No. 10]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Storm top the league in FG accuracy at .488.

No. 5 Los Angeles Sparks, 4-3 (25)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 8]

KK:  +1; (1 Road Win – 0 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +1.00; (40.1 stops OF opp [No. 10] – 39.1 stops BY opp [No. 2] / No. 6 overall
Striping:  -0.07; (+1.07) conversions [No. 3] – (+1.14) opp conversions [No. 9]) / No. 7 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -15; (568 [No. 5] – 583 [No. 7]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: The pesky Sparks’ “D” creates TO’s at the league’s highest rate (.178).


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Differential

1-5 points: 4 games [11 overall]
6-10 points: 9 games [20 overall]
11-15 points: 4 games [8 overall]
16-20 points:  2 games [3 overall]
>20: 5 games [6 overall]


No. 7 Connecticut Sun 2-5, (26.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11]

KK:  0; (2 Road Wins - 2 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)*
Flow:  -2.71; (42.1 stops OF opp [No. 5] – 44.9 stops BY opp [No. 11] / No. 9 overall
Striping:  -0.07; (+0.71) conversions [No. 6] – (+0.79) conversions [No. 8] / No. 7 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +52; (569 [No. 4] – 517 [No. 5]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun cut their TO’s from 15 to 9 per game over Weeks 3 & 4.

No. 8 New York Liberty, 5-3 (27.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 5]

KK:  -1; (1 Road Win – 2 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)
Flow:  +0.88; (43.0 stops OF opp [No. 4] – 42.1 stops BY opp [No. 7] / No. 7 overall
Striping:  -0.19; (0.00) conversions [No. 10] – (+0.19) opp conversions [No. 5] / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +57; (557 [No. 6] – 500 [No. 4]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Libs protect their defensive backboard better than anyone else (.762).


No.9 Dallas Wings, 4-5 (32)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 3]

KK:  0; (2 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-3
Flow:  -1.78; (40.3 stops OF opp [No. 8] – 42.1 stops BY opp [No. 6] / No. 8 overall
Striping:  -0.39; (+0.17) conversions [No. 9] – (+0.56) conversions [No. 6] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -10; (580 [No. 3] – 590 [No. 8]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Wings’ .300 OR% ranks third in the league, Glory Be!


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%: NONE
3FG%: Indiana
PPG: Chicago, San Antonio
OR%: Los Angeles, Seattle
TO%: Chicago, San Antonio
SPOR-t: Chicago, San Antonio


No. 10 Chicago Sky, 1-7 (37)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11]

KK:  -3; (1 Road Win – 4 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall
Flow:  -6.00; (41.4 stops OF opp [No. 7] – 47.4 stops BY opp [No. 12] / No. 12 overall
Striping:  +0.69; (+0.31) conversions [No. 8] – (-0.37) opp conversions [No. 3] / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  -98; (496 [No. 12] – 594 [No. 9]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sky take care of the ball better than just two other teams and shoot better than but one.

No. 11 San Antonio Stars, 0-8 (40)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 12]

KK:  -4; (0 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
Flow:  -5.00; (39.3 stops OF opp [No. 11] – 44.3 stops BY opp [No. 10] / No. 11 overall
Striping:  +0.13; (-0.25) conversions [No. 11] – (-0.37) opp conversions [No. 3] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -89; (525 [No. 10] – 614 [No. 11]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: The out-gunned but spunky Stars rank No. 6 in offensive rebounding.

No. 12 Indiana Fever, 4-5 (40.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 6]

KK:  -1; (0 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 9 overall (tied)
Flow:  -3.11; (37.0 stops OF opp [No. 12] – 40.1 stops BY opp [No. 5] / No. 10 overall
Striping:  -0.67; (+0.61) conversions [No. 7] – (+1.28) conversions [No. 10] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -75; (545 [No. 7] – 620 [No. 12]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Fever defense allows opponents a league-worst 1.153 points per possession.


Abacus Revelation for the Road / Random Ranking – 3PAr (usage rate for 3FG’s)

Washington .321 [196 3FGA’s in 610 FGA’s]
Phoenix .310 [161 3FGA’s in 519 FGA’s]
Seattle .310 [146 3FGA’s in 471 FGA’s]
Dallas .262 [160 3FGA’s in 610 FGA’s]
Minnesota .260 [143 3FGA’s in 550 FGA’s]
New York .250 [132 3FGA’s in 529 FGA’s]
Atlanta .235 [116 3FGA’s in 494 FGA’s]
Los Angeles .233 [106 3FGA’s in 454 FGA’s]
Chicago .225 [126 3FGA’s in 560 FGA’s]
Connecticut .208 [107 3FGA’s in 515 FGA’s]
Indiana .205 [118 3FGA’s in 576 FGA’s]
San Antonio .203 [106 3FGA’s in 521 FGA’s]