Jul 18, 2019

The WNBA's offensive drought

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Data: Basketball-Reference; Chart: Axios Visuals

Last season, the WNBA's 105.6 offensive efficiency rating was its highest in 20 years. This season, that number has dropped all the way down to 99.2.

What's happening:

  • Dying by the three: Just like their male counterparts, WNBA teams are shooting a ton of threes (19.3 attempts per game). Problem is, they're only making 33% of them — the fourth-worst percentage ever.
  • Stars are missing: Six All-Star starters from last year have either missed time (Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi), are out for the season (Breanna Stewart, Angel McCoughtry, Sue Bird), or are taking the year off (Maya Moore). In a 12-team league, missing that much talent has a huge impact.

Why it matters: Offense and star power are the two things we know put butts in seats. The WNBA is lacking a bit of both right now, which isn't ideal for a league trying to grow its audience.

  • Yes, but: Basketball is a make-or-miss sport, and the spikes in offensive efficiency that the WNBA has seen in recent years suggests that this season could just be a blip.

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