With the Olympic break upon us, it is time to take another look at how teams are stacking up in a variety of statistical categories.
At the point of the last update, two teams had separated themselves from the pack when it came to efficiency on both ends of the floor. That is the case again as the Sparks continue to boast the league’s best offense with the Lynx behind them in that category, but now slightly ahead of them defensively. The blue bars on the graph represent offensive rating and the red bars on the graph represent defensive rating as teams are listed in order of offensive rating. The Liberty have taken a different approach, holding their place in the standings with a stingy defense. The dominance of the two teams at the top has been so overwhelming that only those three teams have a positive net rating, meaning that the other nine teams have given up more points per possession than they have scored.
On the graph, the x-axis represents the percentage of available offensive rebounds that the team grabs and the y-axis represents the percentage of available defensive rebounds that the teams grabs. Just like the last update, the Lynx are the best defensive rebounding team, but they have also increased their offensive rebounding. The Wings continue their extreme rankings as they are the most successful team at crashing the boards on offense, but are the worst at defensive rebounding. The Liberty are second in both categories. These statistics make the Sparks’ efficiency even more impressive because they have the top offense despite grabbing the lowest percentage of their own misses and the second best defense despite giving their opponents back the second highest percentage of their own misses.
With more games played, some of the extremes from the last update have been reduced, but many trends continue. The Sky continue to rely more on scoring inside the arc than any other team, using the free throw line for points least often. The Wings continue to be on the opposite end of the spectrum, scoring barely over half of their points inside the arc. They are no longer the leaders in percentage of points beyond the arc as the Storm have taken the lead on that front. The Dream continue to score more of their points from the free throw stripe than the other teams, leaving them scoring a lower percentage of their points from behind the arc than anyone else.
Pace and Turnover Percentage:
Do teams that play faster turn the ball over more often? So far the answer this season is actually the opposite. The teams that turn the ball over in the highest percentage of their possessions actually average fewer possessions per 40 minutes than many of the other teams. In fact, the four teams with the highest turnover percentage rank in the bottom half when it comes to pace. In the graph, the x-axis represents possessions per 40 minutes while the y-axis represents percentage of possessions that end in a turnover. It is worth noting that the spread of pace between the fastest and slowest teams is not that wide so the data is not particularly conclusive. The Sky take care of the ball the best and is the fourth most efficient offense, but the Storm turn the ball over the most and are still the fifth most efficient offense. The Lynx and Mercury are next best at holding on to the ball and have the second and third most efficient offense respectively.
All data is from wnba.com and includes all games played through July 22nd.