Monday, June 23, 2008

WNBA Numbers Update

The latest weekly update on the advanced WNBA statistics shows a lot of interesting movement. Let's start with per-possession offense and defense, shall we?

Team          ORating     Team          DRating
--------------------- ---------------------
Phoenix 104.5 Indiana 88.9
Minnesota 103.3 Los Angeles 91.0
Detroit 102.5 San Antonio 92.9
Connecticut 102.1 Detroit 95.1
New York 101.9 Washington 96.0
Chicago 101.2 Seattle 96.1
Los Angeles 99.7 Connecticut 96.8
Seattle 98.5 Houston 97.8
San Antonio 96.4 New York 98.9
Sacramento 95.1 Sacramento 99.6
Washington 92.9 Minnesota 99.9
Houston 92.6 Chicago 101.5
Indiana 90.8 Phoenix 109.0
Atlanta 90.6 Atlanta 109.1
For the first time all year, it is the Phoenix Mercury that boasts the league's best offense. With Le'coe Willingham playing great basketball, the Mercury has missed Penny Taylor on offense much less than we expected. On the other end ... not so much.

The trend for Minnesota's Offensive Rating isn't good. Two weeks ago, the Lynx were at 110.7. Last week, that dropped to 105.9, still good enough to lead the league. Now, their rating is 103.3. Naturally, that's gone hand-in-hand with a five-game Minnesota losing streak.

Connecticut took a hit at both ends of the floor during a five-game road trip despite going 3-2.

From a more positive perspective, the New York Liberty boasted the league's worst offense a year ago. Now, the Liberty sits fifth in the league. Remarkable turnaround. And since when have the Mystics been a defensive force?

Let's look at the standings based on point differential, shown by expected wins over the course of the 34-game season.

Team          ExpW    Team          ExpW
------------------ ------------------
Los Angeles 23.8 Detroit 24.4
San Antonio 19.7 Connecticut 22.4
Minnesota 19.4 New York 20.0
Seattle 17.6 Indiana 18.8
Houston 14.2 Chicago 15.8
Phoenix 13.4 Washington 13.5
Sacramento 13.2 Atlanta 1.8
The Sun and Silver Stars tumble. In the actual West standings, Minnesota and Sacramento are tied at 6-6. A look at point differential shows that the Lynx (who have lost six games by a combined 27 points) has played much better than Sacramento (whose six losses are by a combined 83 points). In the East, Washington is a game and a half up on Chicago in the standings, but the Sky has been the far more competitive team.

As usual, we wrap up with the leaders in John Hollinger's PER for individual players.

Player              Tm   PER
Tasha Humphrey DET 33.4
Diana Taurasi PHO 29.4
Lauren Jackson SEA 26.9
Lindsay Whalen CON 26.3
Janel McCarville NYL 25.8
Tiffany Jackson NYL 25.4
Lisa Leslie LAS 25.4
Cappie Pondexter PHO 25.1
Sophia Young SAS 25.0
Candice Wiggins MIN 24.9
Humphrey just snuck over the 100-minute threshold for entry (she's played precisely 100 minutes) and thus leads the league, almost entirely on the strength of her huge game against Phoenix on ABC. We'll see if she keeps up that pace. Taurasi has caught fire for the Mercury and leads the legitimate regulars.

You could probably surprise a lot of people by telling them that, statistically, the best frontcourt duo in the league plays for the New York Liberty. McCarville has played great since a slow start, while Jackson has been terrific off the bench all year. (Still, I'm going for Leslie and Candace Parker, who ranks 11th, if I'm picking top duos.)

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