Tuesday, July 25, 2017

WNBA 2017: 10-week (ASG) Report Card

The calendar may have ordained it the FOUR-teenth, but the second Friday of July sure felt like a Bad Luck Day for the WNBA and its fan base. Two of the summer loop’s brightest young veterans – the top two picks in the draft just four years ago – went down and stayed down until assisted from the floor. Washington Mystic fans had yet to begin breathing normally in front of their screens from Elena Della Donne’s faulty ankle when promising guard Taylor Hill was lost for the season to an ACL injury.

The Phoenix Mercury crowd got their double-whammy all at once early in the fourth quarter, as WNBA leading scorer Brittney Griner collapsed to a grotesquely twisted ankle, but reached for her knee, which was determined to have sustained a bone bruise. She’s expected to miss a month.

Mishaps, in the form of both injury as well as sub-par play, have always been a part of basketball. In-game errors – which were indeed first called Errors in the early days of the old ABA – are now called Turnovers and have been an official game stat for about 50 years.

Through 10 weeks and 122 ballgames, WNBA play has generated 18, 942 possessions (77.6 per team per game) and 3,168 TO’s (12.98 per team per game). Thus, one of every six possessions (.167) has ended not with a field goal attempt and/or trip to the foul line, but rather an offensive error of some sort.

It seems a no-brainer that limiting one own TO’s and inducing opponent errors would constitute successful play, huh? So just how frequently does the teams that wins the Turnover battle actually win the game? Does TO superiority provide as much advantage as, say, Homecourt?

Well, Home teams have won 71 games and lost 51 (.582).

The team who took better care of the ball won 72 times while losing only 43 (.626) – seven games resulted in equal TO’s.

Playoff Peek

While Cheryl Reeve’s Minnesota Lynx dynasty rolls on, a couple of pretty good races seem to be shaping up for the now-coveted No. 2 and No. 4 seeds for the post-season. Under the format adopted in 2016, the top two finishers are spared the dangerous one-and-done “guillotine” rounds entirely, while the “shes” who fall to No. 5 face the prospects of two such showdowns.

The Chicago Sky graded out as the league’s top team for Weeks 9 & 10, joining Connecticut (Weeks 5 & 6) and Phoenix (Weeks 3 & 4, tie) as the only dark clouds to the Minny-glow.


The following rankings reflect play through Thursday, July 20. An explanation of the criteria is available here. An index of the season’s bi-weekly ratings is available here.


No. 1 Minnesota Lynx, 16-2 (8)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 1]

KK:  +7; (8 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall
Flow:  +4.83; (44.6 stops OF opp [No. 2] – 39.7 stops BY opp [No. 2] / No. 1 overall
Striping:  +0.33; (+1.22) conversions [No.3] – (+0.89) opp conversions [No. 6] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +121; (637 [No. 1] – 516 [No. 2]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The best Offensive Rebounding (.316) team in the “W” are the third-best (.474) shooters.

No. 2 Washington Mystics, 12-9 (14)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 2]

KK:  +2; (4 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall
Flow:  +2.05; (43.1 stops OF opp [No. 4] – 41.1 stops BY opp [No. 3] / No. 4 overall
Striping:  +0.67; (+2.14) conversions [No. 1] – (+1.48) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +26; (579 [No. 3] – 553 [No. 6]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mystics top the league in both three-point usage (.323) and TO% (.120).


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


No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks, 14-6 (18.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 8
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 5]

KK:  +4; (5 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 2 overall (tied)
Flow:  +2.70; (41.7 stops OF opp [No. 7] – 39.0 stops BY opp [No. 1] / No. 2 overall
Striping:  -0.20; (+1.08) conversions [No. 6] – (+1.28) opp conversions [No. 10]) / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  +3; (566 [No. 5] – 563 [No. 7]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: LA ranks No. 2 in opponent per-game scoring, yet No. 9 in FG and 3FG defense. How?

No. 4 Connecticut Sun, 9-7 (19)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 4]

KK:  +4; (7 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall (tied)
Flow:  +0.33; (41.5 stops OF opp [No. 8] – 41.1 stops BY opp [No. 5] / No. 7 overall
Striping:  0.00; (+1.10) conversions [No. 4] – (+1.10) conversions [No. 8] / No. 6 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +71; (611 [No. 2] – 540 [No. 4]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun’s five missed FTs per game dubiously tops the league.

No. 5 Phoenix Mercury, 11-9 (23)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 3]

KK:  -1; (5 Road Win – 6 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +1.45; (42.9 stops OF opp [No. 7] – 41.5 stops BY opp [No. 2] / No. 5 overall
Striping:  +0.50; (+0.95) conversions [No. 6] – (+0.45) opp conversions [No. 3] / No. 3 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -1; (535 [No. 10] – 536 [No. 3]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Mercury have been a better team on the road (5-3) than at home (6-6).


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Pace 27 games [122 overall]

100+ points: 5 games [11 overall]
90-99 points: 8 games [45 overall]
80-89 points: 20 games [86 overall]
70-79 points: 13 games [70 overall]
60-69 points: 6 games [25 overall]
<60 points: 2 games [7 overall]


No. 6 Atlanta Dream, 9-11 (25)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 7]

KK:  0; (3 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall
Flow:  +2.05; (44.7 stops OF opp [No. 1] – 42.7 stops BY opp [No. 9] / No. 3 overall
Striping:  -1.22; [-0.47) conversions [No. 12] – (+0.75) conversions [No. 3] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +5; (548 [No. 7] – 543 [No. 5]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: The worst three-point shooters in the league hit for 40% over the last two weeks. Go figure!

No. 7 New York Liberty, 10-9 (26.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 6
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 6]

KK: -10; (3 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  +1.00; (43.3 stops OF opp [No. 3] – 42.3 stops BY opp [No. 8] / No. 6 overall
Striping:  -0.68; (+0.37) conversions [No. 10] – (+1.05) opp conversions [No. 7] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  +73; (568 [No. 4] – 495 [No. 1]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Liberty have led the “W” in FG defense (.403) for nearly two months.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Differential 27 games [122 overall]

1-5 points: 5 games [26 overall]
6-10 points: 7 games [44 overall]
11-15 points: 7 games [23 overall]
16-20 points:  4 games [13 overall]
>20:  4 games [16 overall]


No. 8 Chicago Sky, 8-13 (27.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 10
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 10
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 10]

KK:  -1; (6 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  -2.95; (42.0 stops OF opp [No. 6] – 45.0 stops BY opp [No. 12] / No. 9 overall
Striping:  +0.95; (+1.10) conversions [No. 4] – (+0.14) opp conversions [No. 1] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  -47; (546 [No. 9] – 593 [No. 9]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sky increased their per game scoring by 15 points during Weeks 9 & 10.

No. 9 Seattle Storm, 9-11 (33.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 9
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 9
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 8]

KK:  -4; (2 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 11 overall
Flow:  -0.15; (40.7 stops OF opp [No. 9] – 40.9 stops BY opp [No. 3] / No. 8 overall
Striping:  +0.50; (+1.98) conversions [No. 2] - (+1.48) opp conversions [No. 11] / No. 3 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -82; (517 [No. 11] – 599 [No. 10]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: The dead-eye Storm hit 51% of their FG attempts during Weeks 9 & 10.

No. 10 Dallas Wings, 10-12 (35)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 9
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 8
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 9]

KK:  -1; (4 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)-4
Flow:  -3.59; (40.6 stops OF opp [No. 10] – 44.2 stops BY opp [No. 11] / No. 12 overall
Striping:  0.00; (+0.66) conversions [No. 9] – (+0.66) conversions [No. 4] / No. 6 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -40; (562 [No. 6] – 602 [No. 11]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Wings play the highest scoring games in the league, 173.4 combined ppg.


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


No. 11 San Antonio Stars, 3-18 (39)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 12
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 12
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 12]

KK:  -7; (1 Road Win – 8 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
Flow:  -3.10; (40.1 stops OF opp [No. 11] – 43.2 stops BY opp [No. 10] / No. 10 overall
Striping:  -0.43; (+0.19) conversions [No. 11] – (+0.62) opp conversions [No. 3] / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  -34; (547 [No. 8] – 581 [No. 8]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: The spunky Stars outplayed the other guys by four possessions a game over the last two weeks.

No. 12 Indiana Fever, 8-13 (43)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 6
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 12
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 11]

KK:  -2; (3 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall
Flow:  -3.38; (38.4 stops OF opp [No. 12] – 41.8 stops BY opp [No. 7] / No. 11 overall
Striping:  -0.45; (+0.79) conversions [No. 8] – (+1.24) conversions [No. 9] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -93; (512 [No. 12] – 605 [No. 12]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Fever rank third in the league in forcing TO’s (.160).


Abacus Revelation for the Road / Random Ranking – Points per Shot (FGA) Differential

Through 122 games, the WNBA has scored 19,956 points while attempting 16,381 field goals – a rate of 121.8 points per 100 shots.

Seattle +14.8 points per 100 shots [132.7 (No. 1) – 117.9 (No. 5)]
Minnesota +14.5 points per 100 shots [128.5 (No. 3) – 114.0 (No. 1)]
Los Angeles +10.6 points per 100 shots [130.7 (No. 2) – 120.1 (No. 8)]
Phoenix +5.6 points per 100 shots [125.6 (No. 4) – 120.0 (No. 7)]
Washington +5.4 points per 100 shots [119.4 (No. 7) – 114.0 (No. 2)]
New York +0.3 points per 100 shots [116.2 (No. 9) – 115.9 (No. 3)]
Chicago -1.2 points per 100 shots [115.8 (No. 11) – 117.0 (No. 4)]
Atlanta -3.2 points per 100 shots [115.9 (No. 10) – 119.1 (No. 6)]
Connecticut -5.1 points per 100 shots [119.5 (No. 6) – 124.6 (No. 9)]
Dallas -9.0 points per 100 shots [121.4 (No. 5) – 130.4 (No. 11)]
San Antonio -13.4 points per 100 shots [111.3 (No. 12) – 124.7 (No. 10)]
Indiana -15.3 points per 100 shots [117.2 (No. 8) – 132.5 (No. 12)]