With more and more types of statistics available, let’s take a look at the league leaders in a variety of non-traditional measures. Players who were on the court for 700 possessions are included with the last team listed for players who appeared for multiple teams this year.
24 players were responsible for terminating at least 23% of their team’s possessions while they were on the court. While there are plenty of recognizable players on the list, there are also a number of new faces as four rookies and three players who were out last season are in this group. The impact of the return of Liz Cambage to the Wings was obvious as she had a higher usage than anyone else while A’ja Wilson was certainly called on to carry the load for Las Vegas early. Tina Charles continues to be the main force for the Liberty as the higher number of possessions that she played meant that she terminated more possessions than any other player. Using usage instead of counting statistics is a good way of better understanding the impact of bench players and starters who may play fewer minutes. Amanda Zahui B played fewer possessions than the other players on this list, but when she was in, she was often the endpoint of the possession. A couple midseason moves also had clear impacts as Cappie Pondexter changed the dynamics around the Indiana Fever, which had been giving plenty of opportunities to Kelsey Mitchell in their rebuilding process. The trade of Alex Bentley also led to a high usage player switching teams, which could turn out to be critical after Atlanta lost Angel McCoughtry.
Effective Field Goal Percentage:
Using the effective field goal percentage instead of the traditional field goal percentage helps take into account the value of the three pointer, allowing those who rely on shooting from the outside to be included among post players who take higher percentage opportunities. 20 players were over 55% once the added point from three pointers is taken into account. This method favors post players who can also shoot from outside so it was Jonquel Jones who led this category by a wide margin. Even in this measure, Sylvia Fowles finished second, showing the reliability of her offensive contributions even though she does not venture beyond the arc. While plenty of traditional posts are on this list, some of the league’s renowned sharpshooters got a solid boost with this method.
Free Throw Rate:
Free throw rate measures the ratio of free throw attempts to field goal attempts. 15 players attempted at least 40% as many free throws as field goals. Alaina Coates did not play much in her rookie season, but a significant portion of her offensive attempts came at the stripe as she attempted less than twice as many field goals as free throws, the only one on the list to hit that level. Liz Cambage leads the higher usage players on this list and that helped Dallas have the highest rate as a team. The group is a mixture of post players, who often find themselves getting fouled as they try to generate offense, and slashers whose style lead to trips to line on their drives.
Using percentage instead of simply relying on rebounding totals helps us identify some of the players who play fewer minutes who are still proficient at grabbing boards. Separating offensive and defensive rebounding is also important because different teams have different strategic approaches to rebounding, especially on the offensive end. 19 players grabbed at least 8% of the available offensive rebounds while they were on the court and 19 players grabbed at least 20% of the defensive rebounds available when they were on the court.
It does not matter which end of the court that we are talking about when it comes to Sylvia Fowles crashing the boards. She was the league leader in both categories and the amount of time she spent on the court compared to her closest competitors make those margins even more impressive. Courtney Paris did not play as many minutes, but when she did, she rebounded prolifically as her addition to Seattle frontcourt was part of the reason that they had league high improvement in both categories this year. 9 players appeared on both lists. Brittany Boyd stands out as the lone guard on these lists as the Liberty’s decrease in rebounding prowess this year cannot be blamed on her.