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2012 Expected Wins Per Team: "How is everybody doing?"


Looking back over old spreadsheets is always a joy. I looked over a coaching analysis spreadsheet which evaluated coaches based on a method suggested by John Hollinger in preparation for an article written on the Pleasant Dreams blog in 2009.

The main idea is to determine the expected number of games a coach should be winning for any given season. Hollinger's formula goes like this:

expected winning percentage for a team = (0.25)*(winning percentage of season before last) + (0.5)*(winning percentage from last season) + (0.25)*(.500)

Assigning the values for 2010 and 2011 to each team, we then calculate an expected wins number to every team for 2012.

Seattle: 22
Minnesota: 21
Indiana: 20
Atlanta: 19
Connecticut: 19
New York: 19
Phoenix: 18
San Antonio: 17
Chicago: 15
Los Angeles: 15
Washington: 13
Tulsa: 7

Note that there is no expectation that the sum of the total expected wins among all teams should equal the number of games played in a WNBA season. The "expected wins" goal is a goal that each coach should strive for and it is not expected to mathematically balance across all teams. Expectations should be high in Seattle given their history of success, and low in Tulsa given their history of failure. If the Shock win seven games this year, Hollinger would consider that a successful season; anything extra is icing on the cake.

Let's now look at how far away each WNBA team is from reaching its goal. The value after each team indicates by how much each team exceeds it expected wins goal, or falls short of it.

Los Angeles: +4
San Antonio: 0
Connecticut: -2
Minnesota: -2
Tulsa: -3
Chicago: -6
Indiana: -6
Atlanta: -7
Washington: -8
New York: -10
Seattle: -11
Phoenix: -14

With approximately 10 games left for each team, Los Angeles has exceeded expectations. Connecticut and Minnesota will probably exceed expectations, and maybe even three wins are within reach of Tulsa with the return of Cambage and three games total against Phoenix and New York.

For everyone else, it's going to be a long off-season, particularly for New York, Seattle and Phoenix. I'd say that Brian Agler and Corey Gaines will keep their jobs. But things might be looking very uncomfortable for Trudi Lacey and John Whisenant.


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