It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike is currently the unanimous favorite among WNBA coaches and GMs to win the 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year, as reported by Kristofer Habbas of SB Nation Arizona yesterday.
To Habbas’ point, Prahalis might deserve mention in the discussion because she is among the best rookie point guard in the past five years, which is no small feat given how difficult it has been for NCAA players to step into starting point guard roles in the WNBA over the last few years. But you’d really have to deny a lot of what you’ve observed to make an argument that anyone deserves the award more than Ogwumike – putting the impressive numbers aside, no rookie has dominated games quite like she has.
Nevertheless, while there probably isn’t much reason to explain why Ogwumike deserves the ROY as the WNBA prepares to resume play during the Olympic break, the discussion about candidates for the All-Rookie Team is a bit more interesting.
The Rookie Ranking Framework
The logic for using the stats in the table below for rookies has already been described here, but the following is a quick rundown of how to read them.
- Minutes & Valuable Contributions Ratio VCR: In plain language, VCR is just a measure of whether a player is making the most of their minutes.
- Points per empty possession: This is useful for rookies for a similar reason that VCR is – it measures whether a player’s contributions to scoring possessions outweighs the possessions they cost the team.
- Two-point percentage: Put simply, players with low 2-point field goal percentages tend not to be very productive in the league, if they last at all. That is especially true of volume shooting guards, which is relevant to this season.
- Value added: This is the same weighted metric underlying VCR absent points, meaning it’s answering the question: What does this player contribute to their team when they’re not scoring points? A negative value added rating therefore means a player is not adding much beyond scoring.
- Marginal Victories Produced (MVP): This measures “value” in terms of how much credit an individual player deserves for a team’s wins. How much does a player contribute to a team’s success?
The Top 15 Rookies At Midseason
The following is the list of the top 15 rookies ordered by VCR and including all the metrics described above.
Statistics for the top 15 2012 WNBA rookies by VCR.
Draft year in parentheses for players not drafted in 2012.
And from there, we have enough to figure out some midseason All-Rookie teams.