Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WNBA Historical Abstract: The 2000s (Parts 1 and 2)

One of my favorite books is the Bill James Baseball Abstract. I've always enjoyed the book and Kevin Pelton at Storm Tracker (the official Seattle Storm Blog) and Basketball Prospectus has always enjoyed it as well. He got to thinking about what a copy of an imaginary "Basketball Abstract" would look like for the NBA in the 2000s.

I figured, "if he could do it for the NBA, why can't I do it for the WNBA?" Of course, there's a problem in that the 2009 season hasn't started yet, but let's try to get an early start and worry about changing the numbers later.

WNBA Abstract - 2000-2009

Attendance Data: 18,243,171 (Washington 2007 data missing)
Highest: 2002 Washington - 16,202/game, 2001 New York - 15,660/game
Lowest: 2006 Chicago - 3,390/game, 2008 Chicago - 3,656/game

Best Won/Loss Record by Team
(Season) 2000 and 2001 Los Angeles 28-4 (.875)
(Decade) Los Angeles 202-98 (.673)

Worst Won/Loss Record by Team
(Season) 2008 Atlanta 4-30 (0.133)
(Decade) 2008 Atlanta 4-30 (0.133); for teams active from 2000-08: Minnesota 123-177 (0.410)

The best and worst combined records in the 2000s

Los Angeles 202-98 0.673
Sacramento 175-125 0.583
Orlando/Connecticut 172-128 0.573
Houston 170-130 0.567
Detroit 160-140 0.533
New York 157-143 0.523
Cleveland 66-64 0.507
Miami 48-48 0.500
Seattle 148-152 0.493
Indiana 146-154 0.487
Phoenix 142-158 0.473
Utah/San Antonio 142-158 0.473
Washington 127-173 0.423
Minnesota 123-177 0.410
Charlotte 95-137 0.409
Portland 37-59 0.385
Chicago 31-71, 0.304
Atlanta 4-30 0.118

Having Their Best Decade Ever: Detroit Shock
Having Their Worst Decade Ever: Washington Mystics

Tallest Player: 7'2" Margo Dydek
Shortest Player: 5'2" Shannon Bobbitt
Heaviest Player: Marcedes Walker (253 pounds)
Lightest Player: Tamicha Jackson (118 pounds)
Oldest Player: Nancy Lieberman suited up for the Detroit Shock in 2008 at age 50 for one game, making her the oldest player in WNBA history.
Youngest Player: It's hard to tell, as boxscores are difficult to find for defunct teams. I would say Ann Wauters, who was approximately 19 years and 7 months old at the beginning of the 2000 Cleveland Rockers season.

Highest PPG

(Season) Diana Taurasi, 2006 (25.3 ppg)
(Decade) Diana Taurasi (20.3 ppg) (min 150 games)

Highest RPG

(Season) Chamique Holdsclaw, 2002 (11.6 rpg)
(Decade) Cheryl Ford (10.1 rpg) (min 150 games)

Highest APG

(Season) Ticha Penicheiro, 2002 (8.0 apg)
(Decade) Ticha Penicheiro (5.7 apg) (min 150 games)

All-Decade Team

G - Sheryl Swoopes
G - Ticha Penicheiro
F/C - Lauren Jackson
F - Tamika Catchings
C - Lisa Leslie

All-Defensive Team

G - Ticha Penicheiro
G - Deanna Nolan
F - Tina Thompson
C/F - Yolanda Griffith
C - Lisa Leslie

Best Player Who Never Won the MVP Award: Tamika Catchings
Worst Award Selection: Lauren Jackson's selection over Tamika Catchings for Defensive POY in 2007
Best Unrecognized Player: Delisha Milton-Jones

Best Shooter
: Katie Smith
Best Defensive Player: Sheryl Swoopes
Best Stopper: Sheryl Swoopes
Best Without The Ball, Best Screener: No consensus. Diana Taurasi and Katie Smith come to mind, but these skills don't seem to be at a premium in the women's game.
Worst Ballhog: Tamicha Jackson, although Betty Lennox gets honorable mention.
Iron Woman: Katie Smith, easily.

Fastest Player: Deanna Nolan
Slowest Player: Alisa Burras
Best Athlete: Deanna Nolan

Best WNBA Books

Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You, Lisa Leslie
Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball, Pamela Grundy and Susan Shackleford
Summer Madness: The Wild, Wacky Wonderful World of the WNBA, Fran Harris

There just aren't that many books about the WNBA, period. Shattering the Glass is obviously more a book about women's basketball than the WNBA, but a very well written book at that.

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