Team stats only today. We’ll look at the MVP race tomorrow when I have a chance to update my WARP spreadsheet. We start, as usual, with point differential. Here are the standings using expected full-season wins based on differential.
Team ExpW Team ExpW------------------ ------------------San Antonio 21.0 Connecticut 22.6Seattle 20.1 Detroit 21.5Los Angeles 19.4 New York 18.9Minnesota 17.7 Indiana 16.7Phoenix 17.6 Chicago 15.3Sacramento 16.6 Washington 10.7Houston 14.7 Atlanta 4.5
While the West is no longer so tightly bunched in the actual standings, just 4.4 Expected Wins separate sixth-place Sacramento from first-place San Antonio. Minnesota’s differential took a major hit in three losses, while Phoenix climbed to nearly catch the Lynx.
In the East, no surprises. Things are what they are at this point.
Alright, to the leaders in Offensive and Defensive Rating on a per-possession basis.
Team ORating Team DRating--------------------- ---------------------Phoenix 106.8 San Antonio 93.8Connecticut 103.1 Indiana 92.6Detroit 103.1 Los Angeles 94.7Minnesota 102.4 Seattle 94.6New York 101.1 Detroit 97.1Seattle 100.2 Connecticut 97.4AVERAGE 98.7 Sacramento 97.9San Antonio 98.5 AVERAGE 98.7Chicago 97.7 New York 99.0Los Angeles 97.6 Chicago 99.0Sacramento 97.3 Houston 99.2Houston 95.4 Washington 100.6Indiana 93.6 Minnesota 101.4Atlanta 92.4 Phoenix 106.8Washington 91.7 Atlanta 106.8
The common denominator amongst teams moving up in the standings has been strong defense of late, while the teams like Houston and Minnesota that have faded have seen their defensive numbers slip as well. Phoenix actually belongs in the latter group, having gotten out of the cellar defensively for the first time in several weeks. Q took a look at the Mercury’s improved D last week.
Detroit has suddenly emerged as the most balanced contender and the only team in the league in the top five in both offense and defense. The Storm, sixth in offense, is just outside that group, as is Connecticut, sixth in defense.