I thought during the college off season I should share a bit from the statistics archive I've created over the last several years. After some playing around with internet archives I was able to extend my archive of complete UConn statistics back another three seasons through the 1997-1998 season during the last couple of months. This will also hopefully help people understand what some of these statistics do and how they work.
The topic today is the career offensive efficiency of Connecticut players. This will only include players that finished their senior season at UConn and began playing in college in the fall of 1997 or later. I also included Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon as their career statitical rates are pretty well established. Moore is already just outside the top ten in school history in minutes played.
These statistics are descriptive. They are not meant to be a ranking of the most valuable or best players. Value in sports changes depending on context. What these statistics do is help you to put what's going on out on the court into perspective in a more descriptive way than simply looking at players' per game statistics. These formulas adjust box score statistics in a way that makes more accurate comparisons possible. The chart is below, but for a better chart that can be sorted by the various categories through clicking on the tabs go to this link. Definitions and some analysis are below, and these statistics for WNBA players can be found at basketball-reference.com.
Career Offensive Efficiency: 97-98 through 09-10
ORtg: Offensive Rating is a formula that divides credit for everything a team does offensively to the players based on their individual statistics. The four offensive areas from a box score, scoring, turnovers, assists, and offensive rebounds, are all included. This is also an efficiency statistic. It's displayed as the points produced by a player over 100 possessions used by the player.
USG%: Usage is a term that describes players making a possession ending play either by shooting or committing a turnover. By making the play that ends the possessions the player is assigned credit positive or negative for that possession. Some players obviously take more shots or commit more turnovers than others. Usage% describes how many possessions a player uses. If all five players on the court shared the ball equally all five players would have a USG% of 20% (100%/5 players).
ORtg and USG% work together. If you imagine an archer. USG% describes how often the archer shot, but it tell you nothing about whether any of the the arrows found their target. ORtg tells you how accurate the archer was, but tells you nothing about how many arrows the archer shot. You don't know if she was taking her time to line up her shots or was under pressure to shoot quickly.
We can also look at the four components of offensive efficiency individually.
TS%: True Shooting% is a formula that allows you to see how many points per shot a player scores including their 2P FGA, 3P FGA, and FTA. Because people are used to looking at a FG% TS% is displayed in a similar way. It's what a player's shooting% would have to be on 2P FGA in order to score as efficiently as the player did on 2P FGA, 3PA, and FTA combined. Every player's TS% is going to have a different mix of each of those three type of shots depending on how often they attempt one relative to another.
TOV%: Turnover% is simply the % of possessions that a player uses, there's that word again, that ended in a turnover. Again this is describing the accuracy of the arrows, not how many were shot. A player that uses 10 possessions and commits two turnovers in a game has the same TOV% as the player that uses thirty possessions and commits six turnovers in the same game and time period.
AST%: Assist% is a formula that describes what percentage of their teammates made shots a player assisted on. THis puts assists on a more level playing field because the formula recognizes that the team's best scorer can't pass to themselves. The best way for a UConn player to get an assist is to pass it to Maya Moore, but Maya Moore can't pass it to herself. Lorin Dixon averages almost as many assists per minute as Maya Moore, but Lorin can actually get an assist by passing it to Moore and Dixon rarely shoots herself so she has plenty of opportunities to get an assist. Moore on the other hand can't pass the ball to the best shooter on the team and she can't get an assist on any of her shots. It's also a lot easier to get an assist on a team that shoots 50% than a team that shoots 40%. AST% removes these types of conflicts of context.
OREB%: Offensive rebound% is the simplest of these statistics and probably the most familiar. It's simply what % of the time a player captured the offensive rebound when her team missed.
MIN: This is simply the number of the minutes played during a player's career or in the case of the team the average minutes played over four years by a UConn player. Included simply as a reference point.
You can see right at the top there are different ways to be efficient offensively Mel Thomas had a high TS% from taking mostly 3PA and making them as well as rarely turning the ball over, but you can see in her USG% that she basically only took open shots. Tsmika Williams holds the record for the highest career FG% in both college and the WNBA. Her efficiency came from making shots and offensive rebounding and her USG% was right at the average 20%. And you see why Maya Moore is likely the most efficient offensive player in WCBB history. She's nearly tied for second in TS%, first in TOV%, sixth in AST%, and ninth in ORB%, while also shouldering a large load of the offense as she's tied with Tina Charles for fourh in USG%.
Before last season I wrote a post that detailed why replacing most of Renee Montgomery's offense would be fairly easy for UConn if players stayed healthy, and my math proved to be reasonably accurate. This chart should reinforce why that was possible, but filling the void left by Tina Charles will be a different story.
Shea Ralph played three seasons in this sample, but her freshman season was the first season I do not have complete statistics for. Her ORtg would very likely have put her in the second spot just behind Maya Moore with single season Offensive Ratings of 128.4, 128.2, and 121.2. Her career TS% over four seasons was 68.5% just behind Tamika Williams and by far the second best in school history and certainly one of the best if not the best TS% by a guard in the NCAA era for WCBB.