Monday, June 9, 2008

WNBA Stats Update

Scary thought: By the end of this week, the Storm will be more than a third of the way through the 2008 campaign. The Storm and the Detroit Shock are the only teams in the league who have played nine games (three of them are sitting on six games so far), but this season is moving right along. Let's check in on the advanced numbers, shall we?

Team          ORating     Team          DRating
--------------------- ---------------------
Minnesota 110.7 Indiana 83.8
Connecticut 104.4 Los Angeles 91.0
Phoenix 104.4 Detroit 93.4
Chicago 104.1 Connecticut 94.5
Detroit 101.6 Seattle 96.3
Seattle 98.8 New York 97.1
AVERAGE 98.3 Chicago 97.4
Los Angeles 97.3 San Antonio 98.0
New York 97.2 AVERAGE 98.3
San Antonio 94.5 Minnesota 98.4
Houston 92.9 Sacramento 100.0
Washington 92.6 Washington 100.7
Sacramento 92.6 Houston 102.6
Indiana 92.6 Phoenix 108.4
Atlanta 91.6 Atlanta 115.1
It's not too early to begin discussing where the Indiana Fever ranks amongst the best defenses in WNBA history. It's also not too early to consider whether the Atlanta Dream is the worst defense this league has ever seen. Yikes! The Minnesota Lynx offense shows no signs of slowing, while it is the Connecticut Sun of all teams that has the league's best balance, ranking in the top four in both offense and defense.

How about the standings based on point differential and expected wins over the course of the 34-game season?

Team          ExpW    Team          ExpW
------------------ ------------------
Minnesota 25.3 Connecticut 25.0
Los Angeles 22.2 Indiana 24.3
Seattle 18.6 Detroit 24.1
San Antonio 14.8 Chicago 21.3
Phoenix 14.4 New York 17.8
Sacramento 11.2 Washington 9.2
Houston 10.0 Atlanta 0.0
Despite losing their first game, the Lynx remain the WNBA's best team in terms of differential. Indiana deserves great credit for playing so well without Tamika Catchings. The big surprise to me, however, is that the East has been so much stronger than the West in the early going ... although it probably doesn't hurt to get to play the Dream so frequently. Consecutive victories over Atlanta by a combined 35 points did wonders for Chicago's differential.

Let's look at the individuals.

Player              Tm   PER
Lindsay Whalen CON 30.0
Sophia Young SAS 26.6
Cappie Pondexter PHO 26.3
Lauren Jackson SEA 25.7
Diana Taurasi PHO 25.1
Seimone Augustus MIN 25.1
Candace Parker LAS 25.0
Sylvia Fowles CHI 24.7
Tiffany Jackson NYL 24.4
Plenette Pierson DET 24.1
How about some love for Lindsay Whalen? Whalen is, by my measure, the best passer in the league (just ahead of New York's rookie surprise, Leilani Mitchell). She's also pulling down nearly six rebounds per game from the point and shooting over 50% from the field. Can we get her a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team?

The combination of a strong week and several other players dropping off has Lauren Jackson up to fourth in the league in PER. That probably won't be where she tops out.

Can we quiet the Candace Parker for MVP talk a little? Parker is terrific, and it's a matter of when, not if she gets her first WNBA triple-double. However, Parker's efficiency leaves much to be desired at this point of her young career.

Most of the surprising players have dropped off a little lately, but New York's Tiffany Jackson has surged. Per 40 minutes, she's averaging 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.3 steals.


Anonymous said...

OK, explain to me like I'm the village idiot (because I am when it comes to stats)...what's the expected wins thing again. I know it has something to do with point differential, right?

Kevin Pelton said...

OK, what it means is that a team with that point differential will, on average, win X number of games over the course of the 34-game schedule.

Anonymous said...

So is this just based on our point differential? Or does our upcoming opponents current point differential play into the equation? Lets say our point differential is +2 and we are playing LA whose point differential is -1, and then we're scheduled to play Sac with a +4 point differential. Would we be expected to win the LA game and lose the Sac game? And I'm guessing that the number of expected wins will fluctuate over the course of the season, based on our point diff., as compared to our opponents, right?