The Washington Mystics are resting for the next week while the first and second round of the WNBA Playoffs are in progress. As a matter of fact the first round begins today and click here for the league schedule for that!
But in the meantime, let’s take a look at just how dominant the Mystics were on offense. On Sept. 3, SB Nation’s Matt Ellentuck broke down why Washington is as strong as they are.
Yes, Elena Delle Donne is a major part of the puzzle. She was also the first WNBA player to finish a season shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three point line and 90 percent from the free throw line.
EDD. HISTORY.— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) September 9, 2019
THE FIRST WNBA PLAYER TO JOIN THE 50/40/90 CLUB pic.twitter.com/FcjKDqp1qA
But the Mystics have many shooters and passers that defenses have to take into account besides Delle Donne. So if Delle Donne is tightly defended (and she often is), the ball may go out to Kristi Toliver ... Or Emma Meesseman ... Or Ariel Atkins. You pick your poison.
As you might expect, the Mystics finished with the best offensive rating in the league at 115.9 points per 100 possessions. But Her Hoop Stats released some tweets last weekend showing that the Mystics had the most potent offense in league history, breaking numerous records like three point shots made, team assists and free throw percentage.
For nearly two decades, the most efficient offense in @WNBA history was the legendary 2000 Houston Comets w/ 1.091 points per possession (PPP).— Her Hoop Stats (@herhoopstats) September 9, 2019
Now, it's the 2019 @WashMystics w/ an incredible 1.128 PPP.
They would've broken the record even if the Sky shut them out today (1/4)
The @WashMystics were 11% better than the second-best @wnbachicagosky (101.6 PPP).— Her Hoop Stats (@herhoopstats) September 9, 2019
The previous highest mark in that department was held by the 2009 @PhoenixMercury (108.8), who were 8.5% better than the @minnesotalynx (100.3) that season.
Why is Washington so dominant? (2/4)
Some other records broken by the 2019 Mystics' offense:— Her Hoop Stats (@herhoopstats) September 9, 2019
--assists in a season (746)
--assist/turnover ratio (1.86)
--effective FG percentage (53.6%)
--true shooting percentage (57.9%)
--turnover percentage (14.9%)
--threes in a season (316)
--free throw percentage (87.5%)
So who are the main players who also contributed to the Mystics’ supercharged offense?
First, let’s go to Emma Meesseman. She started the season on a rough note as the team’s backup power forward behind Delle Donne but found her way back to the starting lineup in the last few games. She was Washington’s second leading scorer with 13.1 points and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from the three point line.
Washington’s starting backcourt of Kristi Toliver and Natasha Cloud averaged over 5.5 assists per game each. No other WNBA team had a backcourt where two players averaged that many assists. As for the whole team, five players averaged at least two assists per game (Toliver, Cloud, Meesseman, Delle Donne and Ariel Atkins).
There are also key reserves who made big improvements in 2019. Aerial Powers and Tianna Hawkins averaged career-highs in scoring and also made at least one three point shot per game.
The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is that the Mystics offense is a machine that isn’t dependent on Delle Donne doing “everything.” And that makes Washington very scary in the playoffs. It should be a pleasure to watch them continue this in the semifinals, regardless of whom they play next week!