The basketball analytics world is set to take a new step with the Washington Mystics part of the process.
The Mystics and Minnesota Lynx will participate in two scrimmages on Tuesday. After a standard brand of basketball, the teams will play a "controlled half that will analyze various analytical aspects of the game such as pace, shot distribution, acceleration and event timing," the Mystics announced Friday.
The 20-minute controlled scrimmage, split into two 10-minute sections, will include several modifications from the standard basketball game:
- During the first section, shots only count from 3-point range, paint, and extended low block. Mid-range shots do not count. Made shots from mid-range result in loss of possession (Insert your "Wizards offense during the regular season" joke here).
- The final 10 minutes will include several modified pacing rules, including a 20-second shot clock. The shot clock will also reset to 14 seconds following offensive rebounds
- 1 point automatically granted on all 2-point free-throw situations, with 1 free throw taken for additional point
- 2 points automatically granted on all 3-point free-throw situations, with 1 free throw taken for additional point
- 1 free-throw is taken for an additional point if a player is fouled following a successful basket
- 1 timeout per team
- 1 ball advance per team (stop play and advance ball to the 28’ mark in the frontcourt)
Media members are invited to attend, though the event is closed to the public. Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, will speak prior to the scrimmage regarding the technology and idea behind the scrimmage.
Back in February, ESPN graded all teams in the four major U.S. professional sports leagues in regards to the strength of their analytic staffs and organizational interest overall. The Wizards were dubbed "skeptics," the second-lowest rated grouping among 30 NBA teams.
The Mystics open the preseason Saturday in Louisville against the Atlanta Dream. Their regular season begins June 5 at the Connecticut Sun. As for the analytics revolution, that's well underway.