Tuesday, March 28, 2006

PG Draft Prospects

Since I don't really know the college game, and I trust the basketball smarts of Kevin Pelton, I will just go with his prospects and drop their numbers on the table...by the way, I finally found the problem with my Stop% formula...I was using Defensive Scoring Possessions in the calculation when I should have been using Defensive Possessions, and that made the Stop% MUCH higher than it should have been and the Defensive Rating lower than it should have been.

Cappie Poindexter
Floor %: 54%
Stop %: 63%
Off. Rtg.: 119.04
Def. Rtg.: 76.62

Nikki Blue
Floor %: 44%
Stop %: 60%
Off. Rtg: 95.42
Def Rtg: 90.73

Megan Duffy
Floor %: 49%
Stop %: 60%
Off Rtg: 113.10
Def Rtg: 91.30

Erin Grant
Floor %: 48%
Stop %: 50%
Off. Rtg.: 106.48
Def. Rtg: 92.12

Alexis Kendrick
Floor %: 47%
Stop %: 64%
Off. Rtg.: 103.58
Def Rtg.: 84.76

Melanie Boeglin
Floor %: 55%
Stop %: 80%
Off. Rtg.: 115.42
Def. Rtg.: 80.72

Just for comparison...
FA Signing outside the draft

Tocarra Williams
Floor %: 40%
Stop %: 64%
Off. Rtg: 81.69
Def. Rtg: 97.08

Cappie is clearly the best PG available. Offensively and defensively she offers up great numbers and she has the best differential between all the players available. I know that Melanie Boeglin played in a less prestigious conference, but I still love her numbers, and she could be a steal in the draft. She is clearly the best defender. I don't care what conference she plays in, an 80% stop percentage is SUPERIOR defense.

Tournament Play

I watched Tennessee fall to North Carolina tonight. I realize that NC played great defense, but frankly, the Vols choked. They barely ever posted up Parker and that killed them. They fell apart under pressure and have some growing to do for next year.

I thought Geno and the Huskies were going to pull it out tonight, but Duke proved that they are a better team. The final four looks to be a hot finish to the tournament.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Smarter Man than I...

While I am focused on the defensive inadequacies of the Storm on the perimeter last season...Kevin Pelton offers up a better and more thorough look at the point guards available in the upcoming draft. He promises more positions in the coming weeks.

Kevin puts my pick at sixth on his list, but I am not impressed by the defense of the preceding 5, so I would rather have them find a different player with the 11th pick and try to get Melanie in the second round.

Next week should be quite exciting. Kevin's #1 pick got eliminated in the tournament by Candace Parker, Shanna Zolman and the rest of the Lady Vols this past weekend. Tennesee now has to face North Carolina on Tuesday.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Backup Point on Paper

I found the backup point for the Storm that I would go for in the draft. If they draft for position and not for best player available then I go for Melanie Boeglin from Indiana State. I haven't seen her play and I don't know how tough her conference is, but she is a defensive standout by the numbers. She also has been a capable scorer over her four years. She looks like exactly the kind of player the Storm need to look at backing up Bird. She is likely to be available at the Storm's number 11 pick because there are definitely better picks in the draft, but with the addition of Wendy Palmer the Storm look good up front, and I would rather see depth at the guard.

Her offensive rating for this season was 115.42 and her defensive was a stunning 40.75. Her list of defensive awards is long...

First Team All-Defense 2003-2005, set school record with 334 career steals, set school single season record with 123 steals...

She doesn't take a lot of threes but that isn't as critical as her 3 pt. shooting percentage which is a rather poor 26%. That may be the biggest problem since that has been an open shot from the arc for the backup point in the Storm post centered offense.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Waiting Place

You can tell the Sonics had a hiatus last weekend as Mr. P. had time to crank out a nice interview and article on the addition of Ms. Wendy Palmer.

I have been in what Dr. Seuss called the Waiting Place for I don't know how long. Good things have been happening for me, work has kept me busy, the Sonics have made strides and have pulled themselves out of the pit of festering ooze into which they had decided to bathe this season, and I have had a couple of chances to do some game charting that contributes to more than my own uneducated analysis. All that said, I am still itching for the start of the WNBA season. I imagine that my interest in the NCAA will pick up once ESPN and ESPN2 get over their ADHD issues and can let me view a game in its entirety. I also imagine that I will get excited over the NBA playoffs and some potential charting opportunities rumored to be coming at that time. As I wrote in a post to the Rebkell boards recently, though, my heart is with the Storm and the W.

I have been a basketball fan for as long as I can recall, though my obsession with the game only got fired up around 12 years ago watching a Heat/Knicks playoff game in the lobby of some shopping center while waiting outside the rehearsal hall for a play I was doing in Memphis. There was one other actor in the company that was a sports fanatic, and the boyfriend of one of the actresses was a fan as well, so, for perhaps the only time in that career for me, I had people in my job who shared my obsession, and it was able to grow. Since the career of a starving actor usually involves little pay and ridiculous hours as well as the relocation to unfamiliar cities, you basicly found people you worked with that had similar interests or you stayed solo. You just didn't have the time or the money to develop new social networks outside of work in every new town.

I switched careers and now have the time and the money to afford to feed my obsession on its own and develop the social network outside of work (since my nearest coworker is 180 miles from me that is needed). I can go to games as well as watch them on TV. These days I can even watch them on the internet, though the leagues have a ways to go figuring out how to make the service work and be of value to fans. I see a lot of basketball these days. There is still no team, no league, however that I feel so personally attatched to as I feel about the Storm and the W. I can't explain why, but they feel like MY team, MY league. I can't quite put my finger on how or why or when, but that is simply the way I feel.

To get back on topic, as a result of this peculiar sense of "kinship" with the team and with the league, I come to find myself in the Waiting Place. I am waiting for the draft to come at the end of the NCAA tournament. I am waiting for Lauren Jackson to sign her contract. I am waiting to hear if Suzy Batkovic will stay in Australia to prepare with the Opals for the World Championship. I am waiting to see if Sue Bird comes into the season tentative after two broken noses or returns to taking it fearlessly to the hole and pulling up for jumpers in transition like she used to do. I am waiting to see how Anne Donnovan addresses the backup point guard solution.

It is simply not a nice place to find yourself in. Fortunately, having read the book, I know that there are escape routes somewhere, and they lead to places where boom bands will be playing, points will be scored and games will be won. The trick for me is to find my own way out...so I guess it is time for me to pack my bags and start hunting for that exit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lost on ESPN2

I realize that I am sick, feverish and therefore somewhat easily confused, but ESPN2's coverage of the NCAA Women's tournament has my head spinning. I have no idea what games I watched yesterday because they randomly switched between games and I couldn't keep up. Being a W fan with little or no experience with the NCAA schools or their players it was very hard to root for any team the way ESPN2 keeps changing things up. I found it quite annoying. They seem hell bent not to show ANY games where either team has a 10+ point advantage, and we are missing some of the better teams in the tournament as a result. We were allowed to watch about three minutes of the Tennessee game last night, but it had the look of a blowout early so they left and only game back for 30 second score updates. The Hartford/Georgia game was favored until Georgia began to overwhelm the desire of the Hartford players with superior talent and teamwork, so ESPN2 quickly cut away to another close game. UCLA/Purdue looked like it could be a nailbiter and you could hear some producer in a studio booth somewhere cursing themselves when UCLA began to choke and wasted their timeslot. Even worse for that poor producer what the St. John's/Maryland game which also looked like it could be a close one but ended up with Maryland taking control before the end of the game.

I didn't bother trying to watch the late games. Perhaps things will slow down to my viewing speed once we get to the Elite Eight.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Double History

Candace Parker's first half dunk turned a close, competitive game into a 48 point rout today. The first dunk was the capper to a one on one fast break with Army's Margaree King on her hip the whole way. Even Margaree seemed to have a smile on her face after she found herself on the wrong side of this historical moment. The second dunk was perhaps more impressive, it came during a halfcourt set where Candace lost her defender on the baseline and delivered the dunk again with one hand. This was the first dunk in NCAA Women's Tournament history, and the first time in NCAA history that a player dunked twice in a single game. Candace has made her statement however, and said that she won't be pushing it in the rest of the tournament, at least not in the dunk department.

Vols coach, Pat Summit, has expressed concerns in the past, which she repeated during a halftime interview, worrying that Candace could injure herself. Coach Summit admitted, though, that the dunk did what it was supposed to do...fire up a lethargic Lady Vols squad. Tennessee relied on their size and athleticism to dominate the remainder of the game and Parker sat out the rest of the second half as Coach Summit got a chance to give experience to her bench and strengthen their confidence for round 2. Unfortunately for those of us watching the game, ESPN2 decided the rout was less interesting (and perhaps it would have been) to watch and thus switched to the more closely contested Temple/Hartford game. Dawn Staley's Owls failed to make it to the second round this year after breaking that threshold last March. Hartford played masterful team defense to shut down the Owl's leading scorer, Candice Dupree. They fed off their defensive success and ran their offense efficiently maintaining control of the game despite multiple runs by Temple. Temple got it close in the waning seconds but were unable to hit shots in their final possessions allowing the second upset in this year's tournament by a number 11 seed.
CP3 Throws Down the Gauntlet

Which CP3 is the best player in women's NCAA basketball? Candace Parker is making a statement in the first half of her 1st NCCA tournament game. She is showing her complete game scoring inside, outside, passing, rebounding and she made history with the first dunk in tournament history. This was no Lisa Leslie open court dunk with no defense, Candace had a player on her hip the whole way and rose up with one hand to put the ball in the basket. More importantly, the team was struggling prior to the dunk which sparked her team into a decisive run which has them leading Army by 24 points at the half. Of course Hornbuckle's return from injury has helped change the tempo of the game and opened up the three point shot for Zolman.
Washington Teams Advance

The University of Washington Husky women set a state trend in the NCAA tournament yesterday with a nailbiting 73-69 win over the favored Minnesota Golden Gophers in the morning games. The Huskies made a last minute comeback to erase a small deficit and take the lead into the closing seconds on a Kristin O'Neil three pointer. Their hard work moves them on to round two of the tournament where they have to face the likely #1 WNBA draft pick Seimone Augustus and her LSU Tigers.

The Husky men followed suit with 67-64 win over Illinois a few hours later. Lorenzo Romar's team burst out of the gate firing and playing lock-down defense against the Illinois Illini. Their defense faltered near the end of the first half and the Huskies were barely able to sustain a 35-32 lead going into the half. They fell behind early in the second half but rallied in the closing minutes with the same lock-down defense and some clutch shooting to make the Sweet Sixteen where they will face the winner of Sunday's of the Connecticut/Kentucky match-up.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs closed out the evening with a 90-80 win over the Indiana Hoosiers. The Bulldogs survived an off night by college basketball's leading scorer Adam Morrison who was held to 5-17 shooting scoring only half his season average of 28+, a mere 14 points. Surprise play from Sean Mallon (15 points, 10 rebounds), JP Batista (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Erroll Knight (11 points) made up for Morrison's missing baskets, however. Gonzaga dominated the free throw line making 26 more free throws (32-41) than Indiana attempted (4-6). This enabled them to overcome a blistering 16-36 three point shooting barrage by the Hoosiers which kept the game interesting until the final moments. The Bulldogs take on UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday evening. This is the Zags first return to the Sweet Sixteen since their breakout Cinderella seasons from 1999-2001.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Work has me busy travelling, but I will keep running player stats and posting them as I get them finished...

Also hope to catch some tournament games to do a little "scouting" for the draft and take a look at some draft prospects so I can run their college numbers...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Stats Page Updated

I finally got some updates to the stats page. I have the offensive and defensive trends for each team from 1997-2005. I am going to load the Storm player data and then start calculating data for other players in the league starting with 2005 and moving backward.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ho Hum

There have been trades and signings in the W the past week while I was on the road, the biggest being Nikki Teasley moving to the Eastern Conference, but I just found it difficult to be interested. Seeing Tanisha Wright on the big "arena vision" monitor last night at the Sonics/Pistons game merely accentuated how anxious I am for Storm news. I want to see something happen, but I think we have to wait for the draft for the next big news. LJ will sign, but probably not until she comes back to town...she already gave her verbal and it is not like the money is in question, she gets the max, period. I need to get myself motivated to finish my stats page which I haven't touched in weeks. I have a busy road schedule ahead after next week, so I need to get some work done on the page this week or I could fall even further behind.