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Pre-game at the Rock: The Formula For 'Possessions'

NEWARK, NJ - Good to get back in action and put the follow up of Irene aside for the time being. Let's just say that nasty lady of a hurricane had yours truly in each of the Four Factors. It was quite dominant. Moving on past the jump there is the possession concept to touch upon.


     The last time out at home the Liberty edged Chicago 71-67. The possessions and efficiency :

                                                                        Poss.                               EFF.

Chicago                                                         74                                       91

NY Liberty                                                      75                                       95


     Arriving at a possession total we count offensive boards as an extension of the possession. The formula being :

Poss = FGA  + (.475 * FTA) - OR + TO

     Years ago Frank McGuire at North Carolina along with trusted aide Dean Smith, believed averages were not good indicators of a team's performance due to varying tempo. A points per possession metric would better serve their program's needs. Their calculation saw a possession end on a shot, turnover or free throw. If you rebounded your miss it was a new possession. Their formula :

POSS = FGA + (.50 * FTA) - TO

     When the new order or more popular acceptance considered an offensive board extending a possession, McGuire's formula went on the shelf so to speak. Recently it has been revived as analysts look at McGuire's metric giving the number of plays rather than possessions. With that in mind let's look at the Chicago-Liberty game again.

                                               PLAYS                               EFF

Chicago                                       81                                83

NY Liberty                                   87                                 82

     Winning teams usually do not get  'beaten' on efficiency using this formula. If they do have a lower efficiency and win, the reason is found under the boards. In this case the Liberty enjoyed a rare 11-6 advantage , allowing them to pull the game out.  

      The basic possession formula currently in vogue will be used here and in a number of other areas. The McGuire formula, giving us plays, still has a value as we can further analyze a team's success or lack of it and ascertain why.

      Minnesota (24-7) is visiting the Liberty (18-13). The Liberty defeated the Lynx 78-62 to clinch a playoff spot. Following todat two regular season games remain for New York, at home against Indiana on Friday and at Connecticut next Sunday.