Scouting the Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Tip: 6:30 p.m., Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Ft.
Streaming: YouTube

Background

Record: 10-7, second in East Division
Off. efficiency: 100.8 points per 100 possessions, 10th
Def. efficiency: 98.0, 4th
Net rating: +2.8, 6th
Pace: 101.9 possessions per game, 9th

Four factors

Effective FG pct: 47.5, 15th
Turnover pct: 17.7, 8th
Off. rebound pct: 30.4, 5th
FTA rate: .372, 1st
Opp. effective FG pct: 50.9, 14th
Opp. turnover pct: 21.8, 1st
Def. rebound rate 72.7, 8th
Opp. FTA rate: .327, 12th

The leaders

Points: Ron Howard, 23.4
Rebounds: Sadial Rojas, 8.2
Assists: Peyton Siva, 5.8
Blocks: Tony Mitchell, 1.3
Steals: Siva, 2.6

Summary

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are 8-2 in their last 10 games, outscoring their opponents by 6.2 points (per 100 possessions) in this span. Five of their eight wins are against the top three teams in point differential (per 100 possessions) — Iowa Energy (2x), Canton Charge (2x) and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Where they excel

The Mad Ants are fourth in points allowed per possession, but they are a smidgen above-average on the defensive glass, and worse at keeping their opponents off the line and 14th in effective field goal percentage (which adjusts for 3-pointers). Fort Wayne’s defensive success is contingent on creating turnovers, 23.8 percent of their points are off turnovers, and eliminating transition opportunities. The Mad Ants allow the least points in transition by a mile — just 7.6 points (per 100 possessions).

Where they struggle

Their offensive efficiency isn’t high, but they’ve been a top five ranked outfit in their last 10 games, a sample representing more than 50 percent of their schedule. Fort Wayne is climbing the offensive rankings, primarily because they create extra possessions, fifth in offensive rebounding percentage, and they generate a league-high 32.5 free throws (per 100 possessions). For the most part, Fort Wayne has been good on both ends on the floor, despite finishing in the bottom half in shooting. An impressive feat.

Player to watch

Tony Mitchell. His per-game averages (6.8 points, 6.5 rebounds) don’t jump out, but he’s only 21 with NBA measurables (6-foot-8, 235 lbs). He was drafted with a high second-round pick in last year’s draft, and Detroit kept him on the NBA roster until late December. They may see something in him. Fort Wayne, with Mitchell on the floor, scores 108 points (per 100 possessions), a top four mark, and opponents score less than three points (per 100 possessions) in transition.

Stats: NBA D-League/Stats

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