Monday, June 23, 2008

The Versatility of Kasha Terry

Okay, stop laughing.

I'm going to look at a metric called "versatility". Versatility is a very simple formula: [(points per game)*(assists per game)*(rebounds per game)]^(1/3). It's basically the cube root of the product of those per-game stats.

What versatility does is give us a "power-speed" number. It rewards players who can do a lot of things well and penalizes players that are one-dimensional.

Here are the leaders in Versatility in the WNBA as of June 23, 2008

LAS Candace Parker 8.69
CON Lindsay Whalen 7.76
PHX Cappie Pondexter 7.76
PHX Diana Taurasi 7.25
LAS Lisa Leslie 7.02
HOU Tina Thompson 6.97
DET Deanna Nolan 6.84
IND Katie Douglas 6.56
CHI Candice Dupree 6.43
WAS Alana Beard 6.31

Those numbers are exactly what we think they should be. Note that Candace Parker is a quantum leap among WNBA players in terms of versatility.

Now let's take a look at Kasha Terry and the player that she replaced, Camille Little. We won't look at their WNBA statistics, but look at their college statistics.

My arguments are that their statistics are comparible. Both played in the Atlantic Coast Conference: Terry for Georgia Tech and Little for North Carolina. Let's look at their senior year versatility statistics.

Camille Little: 6.02
Kasha Terry: 2.52

Egad. Certainly, Terry's 0.4 assists per game in her senior year hurt her, as compared to Little's 2.1. As a matter of fact, Little's stats were better than Terry's across the board. I suspect that the versatility stat doesn't account for pace, but the top three players on Little's and Terry's respective teams (Little was a top three scorer at UNC, Kerry was #5) scored roughly the same number of points.

This year, Little's versatility is only 2.17. Her game has taken a hit moving to the WNBA. Terry's stats are 1.36, which isn't much of a drop. The problem is that Little has a lot more potential upside than Terry does.

I suspect that the signing of Terry has only one point -- to put asses in seats. Terry is an Atlanta girl from Georgia Tech, and maybe her circle of friends (and Georgia Tech fans) will come to see her.

Is Terry going to improve the Dream? I sincerely doubt it. She can't hurt the Dream -- we can finish last just as easily with Terry as with Little. And we do get an extra second round draft pick. But don't fool yourself -- I doubt that Terry does much to solve the Dream's multitude of problems.

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