September 26, 2016
With the regular season complete, let’s take a look at some of the less traditional statistical categories to see how players stack up in a variety of metrics.
All stats are from wnba.com and include all players who have played for one team all season and been on the court for at least 680 possessions. Total column indicates number of possessions on the court.
Usage shows what percentage of possessions a player is responsible for ending on the offensive end while she is on the court via shots and turnovers. It is one of the more useful ways of understanding various lineups and rotations of teams because it can be a point of comparison of the usage of key bench players compared to starters since it only counts time on the floor. All players who used at least 22% of their team’s possessions while on the court are included.
The top players on the list are all key players for their team who are expected to handle the ball regularly and take the bulk of the shots. Beyond that, a number of players who either come off the bench or play less than starter minutes start to appear. Aerial Powers played less than half of her team’s possessions, but when she was on the court, she was a big offensive focus. Other players known for occupying similar roles like Jantel Lavender and Allie Quigley also appear on the list. Interestingly, there are multiple Indiana players who play around half of their team’s possessions who have a high usage, suggesting that they utilized some flexibility in their lineups and rotations and gave a number of players the chance to contribute.
Rebounding percentage allows for the comparison of rebounding proficiency without taking into account playing time as it only measures the amount of available rebounds that the player grabs while she is on the court. It also allows for the easy separation of offensive and defensive rebounding. The offensive rebounding list includes all players who grabbed at least 8% of their team’s misses while they were on the floor and the defensive rebounding list includes all players who grabbed at least 19% of the other team’s misses while they were on the floor.
Breanna Stewart’s defensive rebounding was a subject of interest late in the season and these statistics show that she not only plays a heavy number of minutes, but is extremely proficient at grabbing rebounds at the defensive end. Separating the two ends of the court is especially helpful in this case, because she is not particularly notable as an offensive rebounding, although that may be by design as Seattle as a team was the least successful at recovering their own misses. Dallas wishes that they would have been able to play Glory Johnson and Courtney Paris more as they were the top two defensive rebounders individually while having the worst mark overall as a team. Besides those two, a number of other players showed proficiency in both categories as Nneka Ogwumike, Erlana Larkins, Kiah Stokes, Sylvia Fowles, Rebekkah Brunson, Imani Boyette, Chiney Ogwumike, Sancho Lyttle, Jessica Breland, and Alyssa Thomas appear on both lists.
Effective Field Goal Percentage:
One of the statistics that has been tracked during the latter part of the season is Nneka Ogwumike’s field goal percentage. Would her lead in the category hold up with the use of effective field goal percentage? As it turns out, her lead was very strong in this metric as well. Effective field goal percentage attempts to account for the fact that a three pointer is worth more points than a two pointer by counting each one made as one and a half field goals while keeping the attempts number the same. It also allows easier comparison between post players and guards since post players are more likely to take high percentage shots around the rim while guards will likely be shooting a greater number of shots from distance. Players with an effective field goal percentage above 52% are included.
Even with the switch in measures of field goal percentage, post players still dominate, taking up the top six spots in the ranking. With the increase in taller players taking three pointers in addition to operating closer to the basket, many post players benefit even further with this measure. Several guards who take a large number of shots from distance, like Sue Bird and Kristi Toliver, have made their way onto this ranking when they would be nowhere near the top of rankings in which all field goals are measured the same.
Free Throw Rate:
Different players have different levels of reliance on the free throw line for scoring. Free throw rate compares attempts from the line to field goal attempts. All players whose total free throw attempts were at least 42% of their total field goal attempts are included.
The top of the list shows a mix of wings and post players. Six players shot at least half as many free throws as field goals. While a number of players were key offensive players for their team and had the ball in their hands often, there were also a number of players who are not the focus, but take chances as they get them.