Two teams, Connecticut and Detroit, have hit the midway point of their seasons. The Storm will be there on Thursday. Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?
Team ORating Team DRating--------------------- ---------------------Phoenix 106.6 Los Angeles 90.4Minnesota 103.0 Indiana 90.8Connecticut 102.3 San Antonio 93.7Detroit 101.9 Seattle 94.9Chicago 101.4 Detroit 96.3New York 101.2 Washington 96.7Los Angeles 99.2 Houston 96.9AVERAGE 98.4 Connecticut 98.4Seattle 97.4 AVERAGE 98.4San Antonio 96.9 Minnesota 99.2Sacramento 96.0 Sacramento 99.9Houston 94.2 New York 100.6Atlanta 93.0 Chicago 101.6Washington 92.1 Phoenix 107.6Indiana 91.3 Atlanta 110.4
The Mercury offense continues surging. A week ago, Phoenix’s Offensive Rating was 104.5, and it was 102.8 a week before. I’m pretty sure there’s a Mercury rising joke in there somewhere. Phoenix’s defense continues to be as bad as ever. Who knew Penny Taylor was really a defensive specialist?
A change at the top of the Defensive Ratings leaderboard, with the Sparks passing Indiana for the title of stingiest defense. The Storm made a nice push forward on the strength of yesterday’s dominant defensive effort against Washington. Connecticut’s defense is slipping a little.
The Dream’s offense has been pretty good lately. However, Atlanta’s defense has been as bad as ever, keeping the team winless.
Team ExpW Team ExpW------------------ ------------------Los Angeles 23.7 Connecticut 21.7Minnesota 20.3 Detroit 21.5San Antonio 19.2 New York 17.7Seattle 17.6 Indiana 17.3Houston 16.3 Chicago 16.6Phoenix 16.2 Washington 12.7Sacramento 13.6 Atlanta 2.6
For the first time all year, the Sparks lead the league in Expected Wins. That really has more to do with the Sun and Shock beating each other up than the Sparks playing well, given they lost last week. Minnesota ‘08 is like Storm ‘07 in terms of winning by a lot and losing by a little. (Also, the Lynx have a really good offense and an average defense, like last year’s Storm. Maybe it’s something about Alan Horton?)
The Western Conference isn’t quite as close in terms of differential as in the standings, where two games separate second place and seventh. However, Minnesota and Phoenix are all very tight. The Monarchs remain the odd team out of this group by differential.
Player Tm PER----------------------------Diana Taurasi PHO 30.5Lauren Jackson SEA 26.9Candace Parker LAS 25.9Sophia Young SAS 25.3Lindsay Whalen CON 24.9Cappie Pondexter PHO 24.8Candice Wiggins MIN 24.7Janel McCarville NYL 24.6Lisa Leslie LAS 23.5Seimone Augustus MIN 23.3 Sancho Lyttle HOU 26.9 162 mins.Sylvia Fowles CHI 24.6 123Tasha Humphrey DET 23.8 166
In addition to the top 10 in PER, I’ve listed the players who would appear had they played enough minutes to qualify (I’m going with 200 as the current cutoff).
Taurasi has been hot, hot, hot lately and has pulled away from the rest of the league in PER. Parker also made a move up the charts, while Whalen has slumped a little.
The most interesting player here might be Lyttle. Her last two games in place of an injured Tina Thompson have been unreal: 38 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, nine steals, 17-for-21 shooting. Yikes! Find her some minutes when Thompson gets healthy.