2021 WNBA Finals – Ranking every WNBA championship team


Ranking the WNBA championship teams is like trying to decide which spectacular ocean sunset is the best. Each champion gets the same trophy and title, a designation that can never be taken away. But in this silver anniversary season, with the league soon to crown its 25th champion — the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury meet in Game 2 of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) — we put the champs in order.

In September, we ranked the WNBA franchises, which took into account the entire history of each organization, with extra weight given to those that have stood the test of time. Here, we looked at each title team on its own merits, unconnected to the overall successes and failures of its franchise. Among the biggest challenges was ranking champs from the same franchise who were made up of mostly the same players. Is one of Houston’s four consecutive title teams demonstrably better than the others?

And, of course, similar to our ranking of the 25 greatest players in WNBA history last month, there is more than one way to assess the data. ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel ranked the teams based on discussions with coaches and players around the league — and old-fashioned subjectivity.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton ranked the former champs one through 24 using a similar statistical model to the one he developed to determine the NBA’s top teams. Based on the predictive power of point differential, it starts with that mark in the regular season. He then added playoff point differential and adjusted it for the regular-season performance of the opponents each team faced en route to the title so as to give more credit for beating another powerful foe than a lesser competitor.

There are two key differences from the rating Pelton used for the NBA and the WNBA version. First, instead of giving equal weight to play in the regular season and playoffs, he weighed each of them by games played to acknowledge the greater variability in the shorter WNBA postseason. Second, since the…

Source : espn

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