Saturday, August 12, 2017

WNBA 2017: 12-week Report Card

Somewhere on every team’s list of desirable qualities, often included among the “keys to victory,” is free-throw line efficiency – make all your foul shots, or at least minimize the misses. The Atlanta Dream miss over five FT’s a game, worst in the “W” – at the other extreme, surprisingly, sits the Indiana Fever who misfire on but 2.60 freebies per game.

But the raw numbers can be misleading. For instance, in their first four games out of the All-Star Break, the Chicago Sky missed a mere eight foul shots – two per game, best in the league; alas, their opponents attempted 11 more FT’s than did the Sky, every game – worst in the league, unsurprisingly.

There’s only one WNBA squad that ranks in the Top Four in both fewest per-game missed free throws, and in differential in per-game FT attempts … that is, only one team who minimizes misses while maximizing attempts. Through 24 games, this group averages 3.04 (No. 2) FT misses per game while taking 3.29 (No. 3) more attempts per game.

You’ll hardly be shocked to learn that such an old-school approach to the No. 2 spot in these rankings is being conducted – through injury, international obligation, and all the other regular whatnot of summer play – under the supervision of Mike Thibault.

The following rankings reflect play through Friday, August 4. An explanation of the criteria is available here. An index of the season’s bi-weekly ratings is available here.


No. 1 Minnesota Lynx, 20-2 (9)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 1
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 1]

KK:  +8; (9 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 1 overall
Flow:  +5.32; (44.9 stops OF opp [No. 1] – 39.6 stops BY opp [No. 2] / No. 1 overall
Striping:  +0.05; (+1.09) conversions [No. 4] – (+1.05) opp conversions [No. 6] / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  +118; (630 [No. 1] – 512 [No. 2]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Lynx made three out of every five 2FG attempt during Weeks 11 & 12.

No. 2 Washington Mystics, 14-10 (14.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 2]

KK:  +4; (6 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall (tied)
Flow:  +1.92; (42.7 stops OF opp [No. 4] – 40.8 stops BY opp [No. 4] / No. 3 overall
Striping:  +0.75; (+1.96) conversions [No. 1] – (+1.21) opp conversions [No. 8] / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +31; (585 [No. 3] – 554 [No. 7]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: Despite unreliable FG shooting, the Mystics outscore their opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions, third-best in the league.


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


No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks, 18-6 (15)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 8
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 3]

KK:  +5; (6 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 2 overall
Flow:  +3.42; (42.3 stops OF opp [No. 8] – 38.8 stops BY opp [No. 1] / No. 2 overall
Striping:  -0.21; (+0.92) conversions [No. 8] – (+1.13) opp conversions [No. 7]) / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  +41; (574 [No. 4] – 533 [No. 4]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sparks shot 120 for 216 (.555) on two-pointers during Weeks 11 & 12.

No. 4 Connecticut Sun, 15-9 (17.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 4]

KK:  +4; (7 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 3 overall (tied)
Flow:  +1.58; (42.6 stops OF opp [No. 5] – 41.0 stops BY opp [No. 5] / No. 4 overall
Striping:  -0.23; (+1.08) conversions [No. 5] – (+1.31) conversions [No. 9] / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  +89; (614 [No. 2] – 525 [No. 3]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sun defense recorded a whopping 50.7 stops per game during Weeks 11 & 12.

No. 5 Phoenix Mercury, 13-11 (21)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 2
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 5]

KK:  0; (6 Road Win – 6 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall
Flow:  +0.92; (43.3 stops OF opp [No. 3] – 42.4 stops BY opp [No. 6] / No. 6 overall
Striping:  +0.77; (+1.06) conversions [No. 6] – (+0.29) opp conversions [No. 1] / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  -19; (523 [No. 10] – 542 [No. 5]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: Taurasi & Co. take one more three-pointer a quarter than their opponents – every quarter, every game.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Pace 24 games [146 overall]

100+ points: 1 game [12 overall]
90-99 points: 11 games [56 overall]
80-89 points: 18 games [104 overall]
70-79 points: 13 games [83 overall]
60-69 points: 4 games [29 overall]
<60 points: 1 games [8 overall]



No. 6 New York Liberty, 12-12 (26)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 5
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 6
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 6
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 7]

KK: +1; (5 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall
Flow:  +0.08; (42.6 stops OF opp [No. 6] – 42.5 stops BY opp [No. 7] / No. 7 overall
Striping:  -0.71; (+0.60) conversions [No. 10] – (+1.31) opp conversions [No. 9] / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  +63; (573 [No. 5] – 510 [No. 1]) / No. 3 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Liberty defense was slow coming back from the ASB, yielding a 47% FG rate (No. 11) and 50% conversion rate (No. 10).


No. 7 Chicago Sky, 9-16 (29.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 10
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 10
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 10
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 8]

KK:  -2; (7 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied)
Flow:  -2.72; (42.4 stops OF opp [No. 7] – 45.2 stops BY opp [No. 12] / No. 10 overall
Striping:  +1.00; (+1.32) conversions [No. 3] – (+0.32) opp conversions [No. 2] / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  -51; (537 [No. 9] – 588 [No. 9]) / No. 10 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Sky had less than half as many FT attempts as their opponents (33 compared to 77) during Weeks 11 & 12.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL
Scoring Differential 24 games [146 overall]

1-5 points: 6 games [32 overall]
6-10 points: 6 games [50 overall]
11-15 points: 7 games [30 overall]
16-20 points:  3 games [16 overall]
>20:  2 games [18 overall]



No. 8 Atlanta Dream, 10-14 (31.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 4
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 7
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 6]

KK:  -2; (3 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied)
Flow:  +0.96; (44.7 stops OF opp [No. 2] – 43.7 stops BY opp [No. 10] / No. 5 overall
Striping:  -0.94; [-0.37) conversions [No. 12] – (+0.56) conversions [No. 3] / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  -1; (544 [No. 8] – 545 [No. 6]) / No. 6 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Dream seem to have the Three-Game figured out – they rank No. 2 in defending treys (.292) and induce opponents to register the third highest usage rate (.274).


No. 9 Dallas Wings, 12-14 (33)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 3
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 9
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 8
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 9
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 10]

KK:  -1; (4 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 7 overall
Flow:  -4.04; (40.1 stops OF opp [No. 10] – 44.1 stops BY opp [No. 11] / No. 12 overall
Striping:  +0.29; (+1.02) conversions [No. 7] – (+0.73) conversions [No. 4] / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  -43; (561 [No. 6] – 604 [No. 11]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: Among the league’s poorer shooters from distance, the Wings drained 42% of their treys over Weeks 11 & 12.


No. 10 Seattle Storm, 10-14 (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
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 9]

KK:  -4; (2 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
Flow:  -0.17; (40.4 stops OF opp [No. 9] – 40.5 stops BY opp [No. 3] / No. 8 overall
Striping:  +0.31; (+1.94) conversions [No. 2] - (+1.63) opp conversions [No. 12] / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  -95; (514 [No. 11] – 609 [No. 12]) / No. 11 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Storm’s anemic board-work ranks them dead last in both Offensive and Defensive 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%: Dallas, Indiana
PPG: Indiana
OR%: Indiana, Seattle
TO%: Chicago, Seattle
SPOR-t: Chicago, Indiana, Seattle



No. 11 San Antonio Stars, 5-21 (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
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 11]

KK:  -9; (1 Road Win – 10 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall
Flow:  -2.58; (40.0 stops OF opp [No. 11] – 42.6 stops BY opp [No. 9] / No. 9 overall
Striping:  -0.60; (+0.25) conversions [No. 11] – (+0.85) opp conversions [No. 5] / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  -30; (552 [No. 7] – 582 [No. 8]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: For the first time this season, the Stars attempted more FT’s than the opposition (three per game) during Weeks 11 & 12.


No. 12 Indiana Fever, 8-17 (42.5)
[2-week Abacus Rank: No. 6
4-week Abacus Rank: No. 12
6-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
8-week Abacus Rank: No. 11
10-week Abacus Rank: No. 12]

KK:  -4; (3 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 10 overall (tied)
Flow:  -3.44; (39.0 stops OF opp [No. 12] – 42.5 stops BY opp [No. 8] / No. 11 overall
Striping:  -0.48; (+0.88) conversions [No. 9] – (+1.36) conversions [No. 11] / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  -99; (501 [No. 12] – 600 [No. 10]) / No. 12 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Fever offense has limped to less than a point per possession over the past six weeks (13 games).


Abacus Revelation for the Road / Random Ranking – Per-game Turnover Differential

Through 146 games, WNBA play has produced 3,806 turnovers (or 13.03 per game per team) … just about one in six (.167) of the more than 22,000 offensive possessions.

For the record, seven times this season WNBA teams have played to a standoff in the Turnover column of a game’s stat sheet … in the remaining games, the team that committed fewer TO’s has 89 wins and 50 losses, .640. Hmmm.

Los Angeles -2.87 TO’s committed per game [11.8 (No. 3) – 14.7 (No. 2)]
Atlanta -2.79 TO’s committed per game [12.2 (No. 4) – 15.0 (No. 1)]
Connecticut -1.83 TO’s committed per game [11.7 (No. 2) – 13.5 (No. 7)]
Indiana -1.40 TO’s committed per game [12.4 (No. 5) – 13.8 (No. 5)]
Minnesota -1.00 TO’s committed per game [13.7 (No. 9) – 14.7 (No. 3)]
Dallas -0.77 TO’s committed per game [13.3 (No. 1) – 14.1 (No. 4)]
Washington -0.75 TO’s committed per game [10.8 (No. 1) – 11.5 (No. 10)]
Phoenix -0.29 TO’s committed per game [13.3 (No. 1) – 13.6 (No. 6)]
San Antonio +1.92 TO’s committed per game [14.3 (No. 10) – 12.4 (No. 8)]
New York +2.58 TO’s committed per game [13.1 (No. 6) – 10.5 (No. 12)]
Seattle +2.71 TO’s committed per game [14.4 (No. 11) – 11.7 (No. 9)]
Chicago +4.25 TO’s committed per game [15.3 (No. 12) – 11.1 (No. 11)]