The Washington Mystics are 6-5, fourth in the WNBA's Eastern Conference after losing to the New York Liberty last Thursday. Since the Mystics played just one game a week for the last two weeks, it's a bit hard to make conclusions about major trends. At the same time, even though they may be fresh for each game last couple weeks, their minds may not be as sharp because of the lull between games.
Anyway, let's first give out a Player of the Week Award, then some statistics to show where they stand:
BF's Mystics Player for Week 6 for July 6-12: Stefanie Dolson
During Thursday's game, Dolson scored 22 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and 6 assists in 36 minutes of action. In the Mystics' last four games, she averaged 16.25 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. With Kia Vaughn likely out until after the All-Star Break, expect to see Big Mama Stef continue to shine in the low post for D.C.
1. The Mystics rank in the middle of the pack offensively and defensively
Here are the Mystics' Four Factors' figures for games played through July 10. The number in parentheses is where they rank within the WNBA. As a reminder, there are 12 teams in the WNBA.
|eFG%||TOV%||ORB%||FT/FGA||eFG%||TOV%||DRB%||FT/FGA||O RTG||D RTG|
|Mystics||46.33% (6)||14.72% (6)||26.45% (6)||21.44% (8)||43.31% (2)||15.33% (6)||68.29% (12)||20.00% (3)||100.2 (7)||97.7 (6)|
Stats from Basketball-Reference
On offense, the Mystics rank in the middle in each of the Four Factors. With their defense, the Mystics are doing very well with effective field goal percentage, but they are last in defensive rebounding percentage. We'll look into that more specifically.
2. Defensive Rebounding has been negating the Mystics' field goal percentage advantage on defense
The Mystics are last in the WNBA with their defensive rebounding percentage at 68.29. What this means is that opponents have an offensive rebounding percentage of 31.71 percent. Once we get to the hard numbers, the Mystics have grabbed 96 offensive rebounds and have given up 124 to opponents, a negative differential of 28. The other teams with a worse offensive rebound differential are the Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury.
Differential totals can exaggerate things based on pace rating so let's compare that figure among the three teams. Washington has a pace rating of 72.6, 11th in the WNBA. The Mercury's is 73.6 which is 10th while the Storm's is 74.1, 8th in the league. What this indicates is that the Mystics' negative differential isn't as bad as it is simply because they play have more possessions per game. If anything, the Mystics have less because of their slow pace.
3. The Mystics give up a lot of close shots, likely as a result of giving up so many offensive rebounds
The Mystics received a good amount of attention in the preseason because of their analytics scrimmage against the Minnesota Lynx. To refresh your memory, the first half of that scrimmage included rules where only three-point shots and close-range shots would count. Any mid range shot not in the key would count as a turnover. As the saying goes, the best shots in basketball are close ones and three point shots.
The Minnesota Lynx's Lynx Data blog is a great resource for stats, so make sure to check it out when you try to compare numbers between teams in the WNBA, and even for NBA-WNBA comparisons. One of those resources is a field goal distribution by distance.
With the Mystics giving up such a high number of offensive rebounds, that also can mean a large number of close shots for opponents. 39.9 percent of the Mystics' opponents' shots come from 1-5 feet away of the basket for games played through July 5, 2015, which is the second-highest percentage in the league. If Washington didn't give up so many offensive rebounds, this figure will likely be lower.
4. The offense is also not shooting enough close shots
If you're wondering how well the Mystics are performing with their own shot distribution offensively, it shows a mixed picture. They lead the league in terms of the distribution of their shots coming from three-point range with 30.4 percent. This is isn't surprising because the Mystics have a number of good shooters like WNBA-leader Ivory Latta, Tayler Hill, and Kara Lawson.
However, they are last in the league based on their distribution of shots from 1-5 feet away at 28.2 percent. Part of the reason why is because of their low post duo of Stefanie Dolson and Emma Meesseman. Both players are quasi-stretch posts who are prone to taking ... long twos!
|FGA's from 16-21 ft||All FGA's||%age of shots from 16-21 ft|
Stats through July 5, 2015
To be fair, both Dolson and Meesseman came into the league as post players who are able to stretch the defense on the floor with their shots, though not quite to three-point range. In fact, Meesseman made 21 of her 40 shot attempts from 16 to 21 feet away. But at the same time, I still would like to see them -- Dolson especially because she only made 8 of 22 of her long twos -- take more shots closer to the basket.
Who do they play this week (July 13 to July 19)?
|at Chicago Sky (8-5)||Wednesday, July 15, 15||12:30 p.m.||WNBA LiveAccess|
|Indiana Fever (7-6)||Friday, July 17, 15||7 p.m||Monumental Network/WNBA LiveAccess|
|Connecticut Sun (7-4)||Sunday, July 19, 15||7 p.m.||Monumental Network/WNBA LiveAccess|
The Mystics will have to get their game faces on as they play three games against three Eastern Conference foes -- and all of whom are teams that are in the playoff race. If they can win all three of these games, Washington should be right back in the top two spots in the East.
But if they lose two or all three of these games however, then we may have to start talking about something else a little more openly after tabling that discussion at the beginning of the season.