Week 4 has come and gone, and the Aviators have played two games since I last dug into some of their team stats. I reckon it’s time to pop open the hood and see what we got squirming around under there. Without further adieu, let’s look at some stats.
Comp% and Huck%
Beginning with completion percentage, the Aviators remain virtually unchanged from their Week 1 mark, nudging up slightly to 91.67%, but dropping from 15th to 16th in the league. To me, completion percentage as a team stat is really only useful when attempting to identify the upper crust of the league, with most teams hovering somewhere between 90-94%. However, we can glean much more from Huck%, where the Aviators rank 20th in the league at 53.13%.
The discrepancy between their completion percentage and huck percentage is very revealing, and confirms what the eye test has indicated about their offensive flow. If the Aviators are looking for one area to improve their outcomes immediately, I think leaning on strategy that applies more reliable deep pressure on their opponent would be the best place to start.
Practical measures might be to continue leaning on the team’s leading receiver in yards Sam Cook, while also finding more ways to utilize Rookie of the Year candidate Everest Shapiro’s threatening presence in the cutter layer.
A stat that jumps off the page for the Aviators are blocks, where they rank dead last in the league. It’s startling at first, but then I thought “wait a minute–this is a counting stat! I mean look at the Cascades for god sake, they’re second because they’ve played five games, but they suck!” So, I did what any journalist worth their salt would do, and exported the numbers to an excel sheet, adjusted for games played, aaaaand… the Aviators were still dead last.
Before we panic, this stat is not the end-all-be-all for team success, and the Aviators have been no stranger to forcing turns in other ways (their double team has seen some success this year, for example). That said, it would be nice to see the Aviators employ some defensive looks that promote lower percentage shots for the opposing offense, and put their defenders in better position to get blocks.
If this metric improves, however, it will be all for naught if they are not also able to improve in the next metric, and that is:
D-line Conversion %
The Aviators are tied for 19th in the league in D-line conversion % with 33.33(presumably repeating)%.
This is concerning because even if the forced turnovers increase, it may not spell more favorable outcomes for the Aviators unless their D-line is able to punish the opponent more heavily for their mistakes. Even though they are not last in the league in this metric like they are in blocks, I still think improving this number should be a higher priority.
Even a marginal improvement in this metric could see drastically improved outcomes for the Aviators. While it can sometimes be discouraging to dig into the stats and see certain numbers that aren’t where you’d necessarily want them, all that matters at the end of the day is the number in the win column, and the Aviators have all season to make the right adjustments and win more games. If anything, I think the Aviators are in an excellent position because they have the most to gain over any other team by improving even just marginally in some of these team metrics, leaving them with perhaps the most ambiguous ceilings in the league.
A slight uptick in their ability to launch more hucks, or punch in just a few more breaks here and there could see marked improvement in their win total, and we could suddenly be talking about the Aviators in a different light come the late season playoff push. Small adjustments could go a long way in frisbee, and with time we may see how high the Aviator’s ceiling really is.