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Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/07/21 11:19 pm    ::: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

So here we are, late in the season, four teams fighting for two playoff spots. Currently:

7th Dallas 12-17, lost their last two, 3-7 in their last 10 games
8th New York 11-18, lost their last six, 1-9 in their last 10 games
9th Washington 10-18, lost their last three, 2-8 in their last 10 games
10th L.A. 10-18, lost their last five, 4-6 in their last 10 games

Composite: these four teams are 43-71 for the season, have lost their last 16 games, and are 10-30 in their last 10 games. And I'm a fan of one of these teams (the Liberty). This is pathetic.

It's long been my view, for every professional sport I care about, that no team should make the postseason with a record below .500. We all know why the owners of these sports will never allow this. But do any of these four teams deserve to be in the 2021 WNBA playoffs? I say they don't. In my world, given the current playoff setup for the league, whichever of these teams finish 7th and 8th would automatically forfeit and the teams that finish 5th and 6th would advance to the next round. And if Chicago were to finish below .500, I'd have them forfeit as well.

I assume my view will be massively unpopular. I realize that the Liberty could theoretically finish 8th at 12-20, upset everyone in sight, and win the WNBA championship. It's spectacularly unlikely but not impossible. Nevertheless, I detest the idea of seeing any sub-.500 team in the playoffs in any professional sport.



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jmvcity



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PostPosted: 09/07/21 11:29 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

It's been said that the playoffs are like a brand new season. Also, many players up their game during the playoffs. How great a story would it be for any league if the lowest seed makes it all the way to the end and wins the championship?


root_thing



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 12:21 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Since NY and LA are 1-1 with no third game, they have to go to a second tiebreaker. That turns out to be conference record. LA is a putrid 1-12 with no chance of catching NY's 5-8. So, NY has the tiebreaker over LA. The Liberty have already beaten the Wings twice, so they also have the tiebreaker over Dallas. At this point, it's hard to imagine any of these teams winning more than two games. So, if NY can eke out one more win -- especially against Washington -- then they're probably in the playoffs.

Not that I'm rooting for it. As a NY fan, I think the ping-pong balls are preferable to getting blown out by Phoenix in the 1st Round. Smile



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Stormeo



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 12:25 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

jmvcity wrote:
It's been said that the playoffs are like a brand new season. Also, many players up their game during the playoffs. How great a story would it be for any league if the lowest seed makes it all the way to the end and wins the championship?


The Mystics this year imo could do it, if EDD plays starter-level minutes throughout the entire playoffs. They're only about 8-, maybe 9-deep even with a fully available roster, but rotations naturally shorten up during the postseason anyway.

A repeat of the 2019 Finals matchup, within the context of this season, would be really fascinating. Though even if the Mystics were to make it that far, it doesn't look like that matchup could possibly occur in the Finals.



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johnjohnW



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 5:30 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Stormeo wrote:
jmvcity wrote:
It's been said that the playoffs are like a brand new season. Also, many players up their game during the playoffs. How great a story would it be for any league if the lowest seed makes it all the way to the end and wins the championship?


The Mystics this year imo could do it, if EDD plays starter-level minutes throughout the entire playoffs. They're only about 8-, maybe 9-deep even with a fully available roster, but rotations naturally shorten up during the postseason anyway.

A repeat of the 2019 Finals matchup, within the context of this season, would be really fascinating. Though even if the Mystics were to make it that far, it doesn't look like that matchup could possibly occur in the Finals.


At this point, I don't see EDD playing even if they make the playoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if she called it quits after this season.


RI_Sun_Fan



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 7:14 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I think the Tie Break rules were changed. Conference record doesn't factor into it anymore. On the wnba.com page with the standings here is the tie breaker criteria:

Tiebreak Procedure

a. Two-Way Tie Between Teams. In order to break a tie, the following criteria will be utilized in the order set forth:
(1) Better record in head-to-head games.
(2) Better winning percentage against all teams with .500 or better record at the end of the season.
(3) Better point differential in games net result of total points scored less total points allowed head-to-head.
(4) Better point differential net result of total points scored less total points allowed against all opponents.
b. More Than Two Teams Tied. As many teams as possible will be eliminated at each step. As soon as one or more teams are eliminated at any step, the process must begin again from step (1).


Randy



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 7:23 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:

It's long been my view, for every professional sport I care about, that no team should make the postseason with a record below .500. We all know why the owners of these sports will never allow this. But do any of these four teams deserve to be in the 2021 WNBA playoffs? I say they don't. In my world, given the current playoff setup for the league, whichever of these teams finish 7th and 8th would automatically forfeit and the teams that finish 5th and 6th would advance to the next round. And if Chicago were to finish below .500, I'd have them forfeit as well.


I like your idea. You are right - probably won't happen. If a team can't make it to 500 making the playoffs is usually kind of a joke. I do recall when the Sky made it to the finals with a 15-19 team - it was a pretty ugly blowout.


Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 8:40 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
I like your idea. You are right - probably won't happen. If a team can't make it to 500 making the playoffs is usually kind of a joke. I do recall when the Sky made it to the finals with a 15-19 team - it was a pretty ugly blowout.


Thanks, Randy. I'm glad at least one person wanted to address what I wrote to begin the thread, whether positively or negatively. Smile



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root_thing



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 9:16 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

RI_Sun_Fan wrote:
I think the Tie Break rules were changed. Conference record doesn't factor into it anymore. On the wnba.com page with the standings here is the tie breaker criteria:

Tiebreak Procedure

a. Two-Way Tie Between Teams. In order to break a tie, the following criteria will be utilized in the order set forth:
(1) Better record in head-to-head games.
(2) Better winning percentage against all teams with .500 or better record at the end of the season.
(3) Better point differential in games net result of total points scored less total points allowed head-to-head.
(4) Better point differential net result of total points scored less total points allowed against all opponents.
b. More Than Two Teams Tied. As many teams as possible will be eliminated at each step. As soon as one or more teams are eliminated at any step, the process must begin again from step (1).


You're right. I didn't see the stuff at the bottom, so I quickly Googled and probably pulled up old information. So, right now that gives the Liberty 3 wins against teams definitely above .500 and 1 to be determined depending on how Chicago finishes the season. LA has one definite win against above .500 teams, and three wins against Chicago that are up in the air. They still have two more chances against CT and Seattle. NY has one more chance at a above .500 win against CT.

I don't see either team beating Connecticut. LA may have a chance at home against a tired Seattle team. Obviously, whether Chicago can stay at or above .500 will be huge. The Sky only need one more win.

I'm not even sure how to interpret the third tiebreaker. It's badly worded and probably needs more punctuation. However, LA has a much better overall point differential, and the two teams both won by 3 in their split series, so that's a wash. I'm guessing LA gets the third tiebreaker.



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FrozenLVFan



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 9:24 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
So here we are, late in the season, four teams fighting for two playoff spots. Currently:

7th Dallas 12-17, lost their last two, 3-7 in their last 10 games
8th New York 11-18, lost their last six, 1-9 in their last 10 games
9th Washington 10-18, lost their last three, 2-8 in their last 10 games
10th L.A. 10-18, lost their last five, 4-6 in their last 10 games

Composite: these four teams are 43-71 for the season, have lost their last 16 games, and are 10-30 in their last 10 games. And I'm a fan of one of these teams (the Liberty). This is pathetic.

It's long been my view, for every professional sport I care about, that no team should make the postseason with a record below .500. We all know why the owners of these sports will never allow this. But do any of these four teams deserve to be in the 2021 WNBA playoffs? I say they don't. In my world, given the current playoff setup for the league, whichever of these teams finish 7th and 8th would automatically forfeit and the teams that finish 5th and 6th would advance to the next round. And if Chicago were to finish below .500, I'd have them forfeit as well.

I assume my view will be massively unpopular. I realize that the Liberty could theoretically finish 8th at 12-20, upset everyone in sight, and win the WNBA championship. It's spectacularly unlikely but not impossible. Nevertheless, I detest the idea of seeing any sub-.500 team in the playoffs in any professional sport.


I'm pretty much in agreement. However, on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs and will end up in the lottery, which could give some players more incentive to sit out games at the end so their teams have a better chance of a good lottery position. Maybe after a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, make their lottery position dependent on how many additional games they win and not how many they lose.


Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 9:42 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

FrozenLVFan wrote:
I'm pretty much in agreement. However, on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs and will end up in the lottery, which could give some players more incentive to sit out games at the end so their teams have a better chance of a good lottery position. Maybe after a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, make their lottery position dependent on how many additional games they win and not how many they lose.


Sorry, I'm confused. Can you explain how "on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs"? Am I missing something? There are currently 12 WNBA teams and under the rules eight make the playoffs every year. If it was six in and six out, what troubles me generally wouldn't be happening.



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root_thing



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 9:46 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
I'm glad at least one person wanted to address what I wrote to begin the thread, whether positively or negatively. Smile


The title of your thread makes it sound like you want to discuss the battle between four teams for the final playoff spots. If you actually wanted to focus on under .500 teams being undeserving, then your title should have been something like: "Under .500 teams don't deserve to be in the postseason."



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Stormeo



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 10:10 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
It's long been my view, for every professional sport I care about, that no team should make the postseason with a record below .500. We all know why the owners of these sports will never allow this. But do any of these four teams deserve to be in the 2021 WNBA playoffs? I say they don't.

...I assume my view will be massively unpopular. I realize that the Liberty could theoretically finish 8th at 12-20, upset everyone in sight, and win the WNBA championship. It's spectacularly unlikely but not impossible. Nevertheless, I detest the idea of seeing any sub-.500 team in the playoffs in any professional sport.


You're not wrong here at all, as I've shared this view as well. But this playoff race that exists at the bottom of the bracket undeniably adds to some level of excitement around the League and with the four teams in question here that, I've come to realize, justifies an 8-team playoffs. Otherwise, IMO the bottom half of the League this year (most years, really) would be incredibly irrelevant. This way, these lower-tier teams have had something to play for – no, an 8 seed isn't flashy or impressive by any means, but it's still something for players & their fans alike to have feelings about.

Now, the last time the League had 16 teams, there were still only 8 playoff spots. If the League were to get there again, would they stay at 8? Or would they tinker around with the playoffs again & bump up that number? I'd love to be able to debate that someday. Smile



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 10:32 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
FrozenLVFan wrote:
I'm pretty much in agreement. However, on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs and will end up in the lottery, which could give some players more incentive to sit out games at the end so their teams have a better chance of a good lottery position. Maybe after a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, make their lottery position dependent on how many additional games they win and not how many they lose.


Sorry, I'm confused. Can you explain how "on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs"? Am I missing something? There are currently 12 WNBA teams and under the rules eight make the playoffs every year. If it was six in and six out, what troubles me generally wouldn't be happening.


I think that applies to limiting the playoffs to teams 500 or better.


FrozenLVFan



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 10:38 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
FrozenLVFan wrote:
I'm pretty much in agreement. However, on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs and will end up in the lottery, which could give some players more incentive to sit out games at the end so their teams have a better chance of a good lottery position. Maybe after a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, make their lottery position dependent on how many additional games they win and not how many they lose.


Sorry, I'm confused. Can you explain how "on average, 6 teams won't make the playoffs"? Am I missing something? There are currently 12 WNBA teams and under the rules eight make the playoffs every year. If it was six in and six out, what troubles me generally wouldn't be happening.


If I'm understanding correctly, you're proposing that any teams with a record of <.500 won't make the playoffs. On average, half the teams in the league are going to have winning or .500 records, and half will have losing records. Some years there will be more teams over .500, some years more teams under .500, but over time it will even out. That's 6 teams with losing records most years, not making the playoffs under your system, and presumably ending up in the lottery (unless that number stays at four). I think there's more incentive with 2 additional lottery teams to not put forth one's best effort once the team is mathematically eliminated.


Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 11:04 am    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

FrozenLVFan wrote:
If I'm understanding correctly, you're proposing that any teams with a record of <.500 won't make the playoffs. On average, half the teams in the league are going to have winning or .500 records, and half will have losing records. Some years there will be more teams over .500, some years more teams under .500, but over time it will even out. That's 6 teams with losing records most years, not making the playoffs under your system, and presumably ending up in the lottery (unless that number stays at four). I think there's more incentive with 2 additional lottery teams to not put forth one's best effort once the team is mathematically eliminated.


Thanks to you--and Randy--for clarifying this. It is true that there's one problematic aspect of my proposal. Two more WNBA teams would indeed have no incentive to put forth their best effort once mathematically eliminated.

There are various ways that could be addressed, but it doesn't matter because NO professional league in any U.S. sport will ever decide that if a team finishes below .500 they can't be in the playoffs. Indeed the number of teams allowed to qualify for the postseason has expanded in every sport I care about.

I just hate the idea that in a 32-game season a team that finishes 15-17 or worse will be in the playoffs. There's a chance that the Liberty could finish 12-20 and in eighth place. Would I enjoy the thought of my team in the playoffs? Yes... until they perhaps get crushed by Phoenix or Minnesota. But I'll never accept that a 12-20 team should be in the WNBA playoffs.



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Shades



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 12:10 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Am I the only one who remembers the 15-18 #8 seed Mercury knocking off the 21-13 #3 seed Liberty in the second round of the 2016 playoffs? Some memories must be too painful.
https://www.wnba.com/game/20160924/PHONYL/

The Mercury as a #8 seed got the best of both worlds. The got the #5 pick in the draft (which they traded for DRob) and they also took the eventual runner up to 3 games in the semifinals.

Relish the challenge.



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myrtle



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 12:47 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

A better title would be '4 teams fight for lottery balls' though I guess that would exclude LA since they won't benefit regardless.


pilight



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 1:15 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
Thanks to you--and Randy--for clarifying this. It is true that there's one problematic aspect of my proposal. Two more WNBA teams would indeed have no incentive to put forth their best effort once mathematically eliminated.


What's the incentive for Chicago to put forth their best effort these last two weeks? They're stuck in single elimination regardless. When almost everybody makes the playoffs teams lack incentive to play hard in the regular season.



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pilight



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 1:24 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
There's a chance that the Liberty could finish 12-20 and in eighth place.


There's actually a chance they could finish 12-20 and be the #7 seed Laughing



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Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 1:49 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
What's the incentive for Chicago to put forth their best effort these last two weeks? They're stuck in single elimination regardless. When almost everybody makes the playoffs teams lack incentive to play hard in the regular season.


Yes. Which is part of what I find so troubling.



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Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 1:57 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Bob Lamm wrote:
There's a chance that the Liberty could finish 12-20 and in eighth place.


There's actually a chance they could finish 12-20 and be the #7 seed Laughing


I haven't studied all the possibilities. Could one of these four teams finish 11-19 and still make the playoffs with a winning percentage of .367? (It's a terrific baseball batting average.)

That could make lots of people proud.: "Hey, our team won more than a third of our regular season games!" Ugh.



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 2:25 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Bob Lamm wrote:
Thanks to you--and Randy--for clarifying this. It is true that there's one problematic aspect of my proposal. Two more WNBA teams would indeed have no incentive to put forth their best effort once mathematically eliminated.


What's the incentive for Chicago to put forth their best effort these last two weeks? They're stuck in single elimination regardless. When almost everybody makes the playoffs teams lack incentive to play hard in the regular season.


I don't think most players think like this. They want to win! But obviously for coaches, it would be a good time to rest some of your older players or ones with minor injuries...and that happens every year.


pilight



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 2:50 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

Bob Lamm wrote:
Could one of these four teams finish 11-19 and still make the playoffs with a winning percentage of .367? (It's a terrific baseball batting average.)


Yes, but all of those 11-21 scenarios make the Mystics the #8 seed



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Last edited by pilight on 09/08/21 2:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
mercfan



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PostPosted: 09/08/21 2:53 pm    ::: Re: Four teams fighting for two playoff spots Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Bob Lamm wrote:
Could one of these four teams finish 11-19 and still make the playoffs with a winning percentage of .367? (It's a terrific baseball batting average.)


Yes, but all of those scenarios make the Mystics the #8 seed


It would be frustrating to watch the Mystics make the playoffs as the #8 seed and suddenly everyone is healthy and ready to go.


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