Sunday, September 21, 2008

Round 1, Game 1 2008 WNBA Playoffs: Storm @ Sparks

A few questions arose for me while working the numbers for this game.

1) Why was Katie Gearlds sitting on the bench? Her first half performance, as you will see below, was fantastic. She had the top spots in shooting and rating but did not play in the second half until the final 27 seconds of the game. I understand that the Wright/Swoopes tandem was playing well at both ends of the floor in the second half, but Gearlds CANNOT be lost in the rotation with Swoopes and Cash playing again. She is too valuable as a shooter.

2) Can we do away with the big lineup experiment, please? Start Swoopes or Gearlds at the three spot. Ashley played very well, but the big lineup is not working.

3) Where is Kimberly Beck? Her end of season play should have earned her some time. Bird only sat four times all game, the first three replaced at the point by Tanisha Wright. The Storm were +3, -4 and +1 during those three lineups and +2 with Beck in garbage time. With Wright turning the ball over at an alarming rate (about 30% of her possessions resulted in turnovers in this game compared to 10% resulting in an assist) Beck's sure hand is a better choice to rest Bird.

There were good signs. The Storm dominated the second half with only two negative intervals, both at the end of quarters. Bird was fantastic again after a slow start. Swin Cash and Sheryl Swoopes looked pretty good, though Sheryl's shooting was putrid (29% eFG%). The big three were controlled the entire game, and I don't imagine the Sparks guards can replicate their amazing shooting on the road.

There were caution flags as well. Camille Little performed horrendously in her first post season game as a starter. She shot a game worst 13% eFG%, being outperformed by the struggling Shannon Bobbitt and with only one rebound in 35 minutes of game time, she was the lowest rated player in the game. Tanisha Wright had 6 turnovers to go with her 4 steals and 2 assists. That is too many turnovers. The good news is that they were all in the first half. I am hoping that both these players are able to shake it off for today and let the Key Arena crowd cheer them on to victory.


Storm
Most Effective Shooters




Player

True Shooting Percentage

Effective FG%

Floor Percentage

Points

Katie Gearlds

69%

75%

69%

4

Sue Bird

67%

60%

68%

23

Tanisha Wright

52%

39%

37%

13

Swin Cash

50%

50%

52%

4

Kelly Santos

50%

50%

60%

2

Ashley Robinson

50%

50%

46%

4




Katie and Kelly need more minutes to generate offense. Tanisha Wright was only able to make this list because she hit her only three point shot and went 6-8 from the line, she was only 2-8 inside the arc.

Top Ratings



PlayerOffensive RatingIndividual Rating
Katie Gearlds162.62153.43
Sue Bird142.84127.23
Kelly Santos119.8695.73
Swin Cash103.2388.15






Raw Plus Minus
Sheryl Swoopes: +2
Kimberly Beck: +2
Shyra Ely: +2
Kelly Santos: +2
Katie Gearlds: -1
Swin Cash: -3
Yolanda Griffith: -6
Ashley Robinson: -6
Camille Little: -9
Sue Bird: -10
Tanisha Wright: -13

Most Effective Lineups
Bird-Swoopes-Little-Robinson-Griffith: +4
Wright-Swoopes-Gearlds-Little-Robinson: +3
Bird-Wright-Swoopes-Robinson-Griffith: +3

The experimental starting lineup was a miserable -9.

Sparks

Most Effective Shooters

Player

True Shooting Percentage

Effective FG%Floor PercentagePoints
Marie Ferdinand-Harris

94%

100%

62%

11

Kiesha Brown

92%

90%

79%

10

Tamecka Dixon

80%

80%

52%

8

Raffaella Masciadri

60%

60%

41%

6

Delisha Milton-Jones

59%

50%

40%

11

Lisa Leslie

51%

38%

31%

10




Both coaches got what they wanted here. Parker and Leslie were controlled forcing the ball into the hands of the guards just as Agler wanted. Unfortunately, the guards shot amazingly well exactly as Cooper wanted. Brown sat most of the second half, with their lead allowing Cooper to play with Masciadri, Ferdinand and Spencer. Hopefully that will smash her confidence as she wonders why her coach benched her when she thought she was doing well. Leslie only made this list because of her 4-4 free throw shooting.

Top Ratings

PlayerOffensive RatingIndividual Rating
Kiesha Brown180.01176.87
Marie Ferdinand-Harris145.19154.64
Rafaella Masciadri121.88110.09
Sidney Spencer120.0690.88
Temecka Johnson104.42106.41


Not a single inside player made the list.

Raw Plus Minus
Delisha Milton-Jones: +18
Temeka Johnson: +8
Lisa Leslie: +7
Candace Parker: +3
Sidney Spencer: +3
Muriel Page: +3
Kiesha Brown: +2
Marie Ferdinand-Harris: +2
Shannon Bobbitt: 0
Jessica Moore: 0

Most Effective Lineups
Bobbitt-Brown-Milton-Parker-Leslie: +4
Johnson-Ferdinand-Milton-Page-Leslie: +4
Johnson-Brown-Milton-Parker-Leslie: +3
Bobbitt-Masciadri-Milton-Parker-Leslie: +3

4 comments:

Crow said...

Submitted this post in response to Diana Taurasi's "Impassioned" article in LA Times you reference:

Diana, I understand your defense against negativity. But there are some issues that I think are worth discussing further as I did earlier at an excellent blog covering the Storm called stormdefense.blogspot.com and a general WNBA analytic blog called rethinkbball.blogspot.com.

The 3 point shot is very prominent in the WNBA more so than the NBA as a percent of attempts and it terms of shooting efficiency. A well executed play that ends in a 3 point make is a fine element of basketball but there are some fans that think this element is too prominent these days in both leagues but a bit more in WNBA making it somewhat less appealing than perhaps it could be with a different balance.

Trying to be positive I have suggested that the WNBA adjust rules to allow for more effective driving and post play- something that you as one of the few and very best triple threat players could use to be even more effective. Heresy I know compared to the philosophy of many fans and the league marketing but that is how I feel.

The WNBA promotes team play and the beauty of team play with lots of passing and unselfishness but I have said that to me skilled 1 on 1 moves are also quite appealing to my eye and I wish there were a few more WNBA players who could break down their woman defender in such a crafty way as you do as opposed to the too usual perimeter passing and shooting.

I am glad that the WNBA is doing well. Best wishes. But the depth of the league is something of a question to me. Comparing WNBA players leaguewide with a smaller ball that is theoretically easier to score with to the NBA there are far far more players in the WNBA with a effective shooting percentage below 40% than in the NBA and fewer who really excel (over 50% eFG%) and I find it a bit hard to watch players with eFG% below 40%. For the same reason I do not watch college or high school basketball. I want to see the best. I think a smaller league with bigger paychecks for the best players would be better than than the WNBA has right now.

I've even considered the idea of 4 on 4 to accomplish more driving and post play. higher average quality and a more unique product.

I would welcome hearing your perspective on these points.

Crow said...

Said this and more in the name of open discussion- wise, welcome or not. Time to move on.

Patrick said...

crow- your comment is not unwelcome...i am just tied up trying to resolve a six point differential in Game 2 of the Storm/Sparks series between my data and that of Paul Swanson of the Lynx. I hope to be past that discrepancy shortly.

Crow said...

Ok. And certainly do what you need to to do.

My last comment was mainly with respect to the debate at the LA Times and to myself. I will probably avoid at least this topic from here.

Not sure if I'll comment much more in the future on WNBA in general but thanks for the prior dialogs and enjoy the game.