Monday, June 18, 2007

Check of the Numbers

We're almost a third of the way through the WNBA season, hard as that may be to believe, with most teams having played about 10 games. That makes this a good time for a check of the numbers. As always, check out the Statistical Analysis Primer for more on how they're calculated and what they mean.


Team          ORating
Indiana 106.7
Los Angeles 104.6
Seattle 104.3
Phoenix 102.8
Sacramento 98.9
Connecticut 97.7
New York 97.4
Chicago 97.1
Minnesota 96.8
Detroit 96.5
San Antonio 95.8
Washington 92.8
Houston 88.7
The Fever continues to lead the league in offense, a big surprise from a team that ranked near the bottom last season. Last year's leading offense, Phoenix, has not been as strong this year, while Connecticut has fallen way off with the loss of Taj McWilliams-Franklin and slow starts from holdover players. New York has slid as the three-pointers that went in at an unsustainable clip early in the season have started going out. I was surprised to see San Antonio's offense so low given how well Becky Hammon has played this season.


Team          DRating
Detroit 89.7
Sacramento 89.9
Indiana 91.7
New York 96.2
San Antonio 96.3
Phoenix 98.2
Connecticut 98.8
Chicago 98.8
Seattle 101.3
Los Angeles 101.8
Minnesota 105.5
Houston 107.9
Detroit and Sacramento have had dominant defenses for years, and nothing has changed. Connecticut has taken an even bigger hit on defense after ranking No. 2 a year ago. That's not a surprise - Margo Dydek has struggled this year with her back and is never mobile in the best of circumstances, and Erika De Souza hasn't been able to pick up for Dydek after a fast start.

Bet you're suprised to see how good Phoenix is on defense.

If you're looking for the reason the Storm has been inconsistent, you probably need to start at the defensive end of the floor, where Seattle is significantly below average. Here's how the Storm defense has rated compared to league average under Anne Donovan:

2003: +0.3 (6/14)
2004: +2.2 (2/13)
2005: +0.1 (5/13)
2006: -0.9 (8/14)
2007: -2.9 (10/13)

The championship season was easily the best the Storm has been on defense, and the loss of players like Tully Bevilaqua, Adia Barnes, Sheri Sam and Kamila Vodichkova was felt the next season. Last year saw another slide, but this year the defense has been much worse in the early going.


If you go by point differential and expected wins, here's what the standings would look like in each conference (wins projected to 34 games):

WEST          ExpW   EAST          ExpW
------------------ ------------------
Sacramento 25.1 Indiana 28.8
Phoenix 20.0 Detroit 23.5
Los Angeles 18.6 New York 17.6
Seattle 17.9 Chicago 15.5
San Antonio 16.3 Connecticut 15.4
Minnesota 11.6 Washington 9.9
Houston 1.9
While the East has, at worst, two of the best three teams in the league, there isn't a lot of depth to the conference until or unless the Sun gets going. Barring that, it looks like an Indy-Detroit showdown in the Eastern Conference Finals. The West is significantly more interesting.

At the individual level, I also took a quick look at the PER leaders in the league:

Player      Tm   PER
Jackson SEA 35.9
Catchings IND 31.9
Taurasi PHO 27.6
Brunson SAC 26.1
Augustus MIN 25.9
Yeah, LJ is awesome. Rebekkah Brunson is off to a great start and should be an All-Star reserve if there's any justice.


Anonymous said...

Kevin, it seems like the Lynx is looking for a trade to open a roster spot. From what I see, Jacobs would be a very good addition to the Storm'
s back-up PG position. I am sure the Lynx would be interested in trading Jacobs because she is now barely getting any minutes from the deep rotation with Harding starting. What can the Storm offer?

Anonymous said...

or better yet....SHERILL BAKER from NEW YORK!!!????