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]