Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who is at Fault?

Note: Today might be just as busy as yesterday. So I'm going to start this post, and I will probably finish it later. And yes, I know we're still waiting for lots of things -- an analysis of the Dream's game against the Silver Stars, other WNBA outcomes, and the like. We might have to wait for some time if work keeps busy. I'm writing on my lunch hour.

Bill Simmons might be a jerk when it comes to the WNBA, and he might have unfortunately popularized the "more about my personal life and pop-culture tastes than actual game analysis" style of sport journalism, but every now and then, he writes a gem.

With some Atlanta fans turning against coach Marynell Meadors, I want to know if she's really just as bad as they say she is, or is it just that the team is bad and there isn't much she can do about it. You give Casey Stengel the 1962 Mets, and he's going to lose games. Maybe no coach could have made chicken salad with the chicken...stuff on the court that the Dream is providing.

Simmons, in an article about former Celtics coach Doc Rivers called "What's Up, Doc" lists what he believes makes a bad coach. The good thing about his list is that most of it can be hunted up in the statistics; the stats don't lie, but we have to decide how to interprent what they mean.

His bad-coach metric consists of anaylzing the following:

Lousy record in close games, or games with a final margin of five points or less. He does't provided much of an analysis of why this margin-of-victory stat is important.

The Dream have only had two such games: an 85-81 loss to Minnesota and an 81-77 loss to the Liberty. The Dream are dead last in average margin of victory, losing games by an average of 13 points. The first loss was really decided in the second quarter and the Lynx had to shoot the lights out to win it. However, if we're looking for Games Thrown Away, it would be the game against the Liberty, where the Dream turned a six-point lead going into the fourth quarter into a four point loss.

Turnover average. According to Simmons, well-coached teams don't turn the ball over. The Dream are 12th in the league with 18.7 turnovers per game. Two other teams in the bottom half of the NBA are actually worse, with the Monarchs actually an additional turnover worse than the Dream. In terms of "turnover versus", we turn the ball over on an average of two times a game more than our opponents, which puts us at 11th. It could be worse. The Sparks give the ball to their opponents three times a game, worst in the league.

I had a nice rant about rebounding coming up, but the WNBA site doesn't break down rebounds into offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. So I might have to do that myself.

Lunchtime is coming to an end. Check in later!

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