Monday, June 07, 2010

Quarter Season Numbers

We are at the quarter season mark already with 9 games played and the Storm at 8-1. It is shocking to witness what is happening with this team. I have been watching them play for eight seasons, and I have never seen them start a season like this. I have seen them play stretches like this, but never come out of the gate playing so well.

In the Agler era the Storm have been an average to below average offensive team and an elite defensive team by the end of the season. Seattle has not had an offensive rating above 100 points per 100 possessions since 2007. They are rating at 111.76 points per 100 possessions in my calculations for this season to date. Their defensive rating has slipped quite a bit (4 points)from 2008 but only 2 points per 100 possessions from last year. They are however 5th in the league for defensive rating. Their pace is at the bottom part of the league at this point. My original results were not normalized to possessions per game as they are usually something I run at the end of the season. As a result all of the teams with nine games played had much higher possessions than those with only seven or eight played fooling me considerably. The key defensively for the Storm has been their defensive field goal percentage which at 41.1% is second in the league to Indiana. Additionally they have dominated the boards with league best rebounding percentages of 38.13% offensive rebounding and 73.13 defensive rebounding. Atlanta and Minnesota are the only teams close to Seattle in those statistics so far.

Once upon a time ratings differential was the clear indicator of the WNBA champion, but that broke down a few seasons ago. However, Seattle has a dominant +13.64 ratings differential, meaning they score more than 13 points more than their opponents per 100 possessions. The only other teams with double digit differentials are Indiana (+10.25) and Connecticut (+10.06). Chicago, Atlanta and Washington are the only other teams positive in this category. Minnesota and San Antonio look quite hapless with double digit, negative differentials.

Top Shooter/Scorers

Camile Little has been the most efficient at maximizing her possessions with a Floor Percentage of 58.81%. Lauren Jackson is right there with her with 57.86%. In fact the Storm have been so effective this season that only Abby Bishop, Svetlana Abrosimova, Alison Lacey and Ashley Robinson have floor percentages below 50%.

Jana Vesela leads the team with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 80% and True Shooting Percentage of 85.03%. Given she has barely seen any floor time however we will give the true leader nods to Camille Little's 54.12% eFG% and Lauren Jackson's 59.06% TS%. Allison Lacey, Ashley Robinson and Abby Bishop are the only players with an eFG% or TS% below 40%.

Given the excellent shooting, it is not odd that those same three players are the only three players on the team with an Offensive Rating below 100 points per 100 possessions. Lauren and Camille lead the team at 132.83 and 122.41 respectively. Vesela, Jackson, Bird and Little also have Individual ratings over 100. Last season only Lauren broke the 100 rating barrier and no bench player broke 90. In fact, only Sue and Tanisha were over 90.

Last year Tanisha Wright broke out as a key player for the Storm. It might seem that her performance has dropped off so far this season. In fact, the only area where Wright has actually slipped is with her free throw shooting. She shot over 90% from the charity stripe in 2009 but is only shooting just below 80% so far this season. Most of her other advanced statistics are actually up. It is hard to notice that however because of the huge growth from Camille Little. Little has quietly become the team's second most effective player

Top Performing Lineups

Working with only those lineups that have seen at least five minutes of floor time this season, here are the most effective so far.

Bird-Wright-Cash-Little-Jackson: +92, +27 per 40
Bird-Abrosimova-Cash-Little-Jackson: +14, +33.53 per 40
Bird-Abrosimova-Cash-Willingham-Jackson: +14, +18.42 per 40
Bird-Wright-Abrosimova-Little-Jackson: +11, +31.28 per 40
Bird-Wright-Cash-Willingham-Jackson: +11, +17.48 per 40

The following lineups are struggling to be effective.

Wright-Abrosimova-Cash-Willingham-Robinson: -18, -67.19 per 40
Wright-Abrosimova-Vesela-Bishop-Robinson: -17, -54.91 per 40
Wright-Abrosimova-Cash-Willingham-Vesela: -9, -54.96 per 40
Wright-Abrosimova-Cash-Little-Jackson: -7, -46.67 per 40
Bird-Wright-Abrosimova-Willingham-Jackson: -6, -38.81 per 40

The Per40 numbers display some lineups with potential as the season progresses:

Bird-Wright-Cash-Jacskon-Robinson: +8, +61.54 per 40
Bird-Abrosimova-Cash-Little-Willingham: +8, +42.38 per 40
Wright-Abrosimova-Cash-Willingham-Jackson: +5, +38.96 per 40

The most effective lineups with Wright at point guard are:

Wright-Abrosimova-Cash-Willingham-Jackson: +5
Wright-Abrosimova-Little-Willingham-Vesela: +3
Wright-Cash-Vesela-Willingham-Jackson: +2

Player Pairs

Bird-Cash: +142, +23.37 per40
Bird-Jackson: +134, +21.86 per40
Cash-Jackson: +131, +22.23 per40
Bird-Wright: +112, +21.25 per40
Wright-Jackson: +108, +20.62 per40

The most effective bench pairings are:

Bird-Abrosimova: +40, +17.26 per40
Abrosimova-Jackson: +25, +12.04 per40
Abrosimova-Little: +12, +7.88 per40
Jackson-Robinson: +8, +58.36 per40
Abrosimova-Cash: +6, +2.55 per40

For the second year in a row the Jackson-Robinson pairing is a very effective one, though it seldom sees any floor time with Robinson primarily being used at the end of the bench. Newcomer Svetlana Abrosimova has proven to be the most effective player off the bench for the Storm in terms of allowing starters to rest. Coach Agler is resting Tanisha, Swin and Sue in rotation while Abrosimova is on the court.

Positionally, the team is +109 with Tanisha at shooting guard and -50 with her at point guard. Abrosimova's minutes at small forward are +3 while the team is -19 with her at shooting guard. Both of those are thrown off by the "garbage time" numbers that always have those two at those positions. As far as Willingham, she has been equally effective at the power forward and center position.


Q McCall said...

Good work - it seems that with Wright at point guard they just need some sort of post scoring presence/strong rebounder in the game with her...?

Patrick said...

That doesn't solve everything...I would say it is more important that she have both Jackson and one other major post presence.

There is one exception though, Wright-Abrosimova-Cash-Little-Jackson is -7.

Rich said...

"Their pace is high for the league this season with only Atlanta and Minnesota averaging more possessions per game"
Is that right? Doesn't sound right to me, firstly because I'd expect Phoenix and Tulsa right at the top of a pace/possessions list, and secondly because of the numbers Paul Swanson posts here:

Appreciate all the effort that goes into all this, but just wondered about that.

Patrick said...

You are formulas assume the same number of games have been played. When normalized by possessions per game Seattle is at the bottom of the pack.