WNBA Playoffs - Congrats WNBA Champion Chicago Sky!

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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#101 » by XTraderXL » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:03 pm

Womens basketball must be one of the worst things anyone can watch. And the players are incredibly annoying as well.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#102 » by jamaalstar21 » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:06 pm

Phoenix has a good defensive frontcourt and a weak defensive backcourt. The contrast is wild. Going from Griner blocking Wilson at the buzzer (after holding down Cambage and Wilson pretty well all series) to getting completely lit up by Cooper, Quigley, and Vandersloot is a rude awakening in game 1.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#103 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:11 pm

bisme37 wrote:Dang, this is (about to be) a very convincing win for the Sky. Phoenix can't do anything about Copper. Sloot and Quigley are terrific. And Candace was def the missing piece there. It will be pretty epic if she brings a title to her hometown in her first year with the team.


Chicago really looking like a team that's coalesced together perfectly.

Copper indeed looks like the one no one was expecting to be the star, but she and Diggins move like no one else on the floor, and she's considerably bigger than Diggins.

I felt like Vandersloot looked like easily the smartest player on the floor, which isn't a surprise, but still noteworthy given that legends like Taurasi & Parker are out there too.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#104 » by The_Hater » Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:12 pm

Jadoogar wrote:
The_Hater wrote:
bisme37 wrote:I understand some people here think WNBA is laughably terrible but I'm hoping those people will decide this isn't the thread for them and simply comment on something else.

Anyway, the WNBA playoffs are going on right now and I thought we should have a thread. There have already been a couple thrillers and right now the Storm just erased a big deficit to take a lead over Phoenix at the half. Good game. The first two rounds are just one game, not a series, so it's win or go home.

Anyway, please join the discussion if you're watching. I have Connecticut winning the title this year but there are several really good teams so it should be fun.


I hate to say this, but I turned on the WNBA finals last season and proceeded to watch 10 minutes worth of TO’s and forced shots before changing the channel. Now I probably just happened to catch the worst possible stretch of play, but it wasn’t a very good endorsement for the league. I won’t be back anytime soon.


good thing you came in this thread to let everyone know. I was wondering what your position was.


In retrospect you’re right. I should have said nothing.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#105 » by Doctor MJ » Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:37 am

Today's game made me think more about how the Sky are doing this. This was a .500 team in the regular season, and through this point, they've actually been dominant. Double digit wins in both single-elimination games, a decisive 3-1 victory over Connecticut, and now today's performance. Time to really think about what's happening I'd say.

So, looking at playoff lineup data, something that really stands out is that Chicago has been riding a death lineup HARD.

2021 WNBA Playoffs - Lineups by Plus Minus

The Chicago Sky Death Lineup has racked up a +70 so far this post-season. Next closest of anyone is +19 lineup from Phoenix.

For historical perspective here, this lineup is already the 3rd highest in known WNBA history (dating back to 2001) for any lineup.

1. 2014 Phoenix +88 in 133 MP (Bonner/Dupree/Griner/Taurasi/Taylor)
2. 2001 Los Angeles +71 in 152 MP (Dixon/Figgs/Leslie/Mabika/Milton-Jones)
3. 2021 Chicago +70 in 104 MP (Copper/Parker/Quigley/Stevens/Vandersloot)

To me what something like this says is that a team has found a 5 that really works well together, and goes all in on them. And whenever this is the case it's worth specifically analyzing how that 5 works so well together. I'm not going to try to do that here, but if the Sky keep this up, I'd ask the group to try to understand how this 5 fits so seamlessly.

I'll add that this lineup weren't clicking like this in the regular season. It's not something that clicked when Parker got there, but in these playoffs there's no denying that this lineup has buzzed through all opponents so far at a remarkable clip. (lineup went +55 against the Connecticut team that was easily the best in the regular season)

Last, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that today Dolson was super effective for the team too.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#106 » by God Squad » Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:05 am

I used to have a HUGE crush on Skyler Diggins. She baaad


That is all.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#107 » by Little Nathan » Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:23 am

XTraderXL wrote:Womens basketball must be one of the worst things anyone can watch. And the players are incredibly annoying as well.


Calling WNBA players annoying in a post in which you share your extremely negative opinion on a league you don't watch.

An astounding lack of self-awareness.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#108 » by Little Nathan » Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:29 am

I've been watching more and more WNBA games this season and must say the level of play has surprised me a bit. It's feels like a completely different game than the NBA, but I'm really enjoying it. It has obviously helped that the Sky are doing so well in the playoffs, the Chicago connection makes it easy to root for them (even though I have no actual connection to the city of Chicago myself).

Will definitely get the (ridiculously cheap) League Pass for next season.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#109 » by Infinite Llamas » Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:55 pm

Phoenix has zero depth right now. Hartley was awful off the bench and Dolson single handed lay outscored the Mercury bench. Phoenix needs Cunningham back to get a shooter out there because Griner is getting extra attention with Phx lack of perimeter options. Taurasi played out of control while Quigley and Vandersloot played completely level headed.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#110 » by Betta Bulleavit » Mon Oct 11, 2021 5:05 pm

The_Hater wrote:
Jadoogar wrote:
The_Hater wrote:
I hate to say this, but I turned on the WNBA finals last season and proceeded to watch 10 minutes worth of TO’s and forced shots before changing the channel. Now I probably just happened to catch the worst possible stretch of play, but it wasn’t a very good endorsement for the league. I won’t be back anytime soon.


good thing you came in this thread to let everyone know. I was wondering what your position was.


In retrospect you’re right. I should have said nothing.

Know this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your position on the WNBA. There are lots of people that feel the same way. However, the purpose of this particular thread is for people that don’t mind the WNBA and enjoy discussing it. There are lots of people that can’t stand the NBA. But those people coming on to this board with the express purpose of talking down on the NBA would seem to undermine the purpose of RealGM.

So in short, I respect your opinion. I just don’t see what it adds to the purpose of this thread.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#111 » by Little Italia » Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:17 pm

Who payed you guys to write these wnba playoff reviews?
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#112 » by 5paceman » Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:25 am

Little Italia wrote:Who payed you guys to write these wnba playoff reviews?


Some people are NBA fans, others basketball fans.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#113 » by Clyde Frazier » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:58 pm

Taurasi is so **** good.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#114 » by Texas Chuck » Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:08 pm

Loved seeing all the Suns players at the game. Always find it interesting how we have so many male posters on RealGM and even sadly itt who see themselves too good for the WNBA while the NBA guys collectively support the league and have a genuine respect for the players. Just like it was cool to see the relationship last year between Suggs and Bueckers supporting each other as they dominated at the next level after their success in Minnesota.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#115 » by gottamakeit » Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:46 pm

Last night i was only able to catch the 4th and overtime. Good competitive game. Didn't have a team to root for, but still enjoyed witnessing the greatness of Taurasi.

Something that troubled me was that every 50/50 call was going in favor of Phoenix. Anybody else notice this disparity (especially late in the 4th) ?
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#116 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:55 pm

5paceman wrote:
Little Italia wrote:Who payed you guys to write these wnba playoff reviews?


Some people are NBA fans, others basketball fans.


THIS. A thousands times this!

Show me teams that have spent a lot of time practicing their skills to be the best they can together, I can find something that tickles my basketball brain.

The NBA is the pinnacle of the game and what I've spent the vast majority of the time focusing on, but other forms of basketball are cool too!
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#117 » by Doctor MJ » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:59 pm

Texas Chuck wrote:Loved seeing all the Suns players at the game. Always find it interesting how we have so many male posters on RealGM and even sadly itt who see themselves too good for the WNBA while the NBA guys collectively support the league and have a genuine respect for the players. Just like it was cool to see the relationship last year between Suggs and Bueckers supporting each other as they dominated at the next level after their success in Minnesota.


Yup. There's no way around it:

If you're a male who giddily bashes the WNBA, you look insecure in your masculinity.

If the super-human giants of the NBA can respect the WNBA, and you're a male of average size and physical ability and you can't, you come across as small in more ways than one.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#118 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:19 pm

Bumping this for what could be the last game of the finals today.

Some fun facts to chew on:

1. At this point the Chicago Sky death line up (Vandersloot/Quigley/Copper/Parker/Stevens) has a +88 for the playoffs, meaning that if they finish from hear on out with any great than 0, they'll become the all-time playoff +/- leader among all lineups in known history (back to 2001, so it doesn't include the Cynthia Cooper Comets).

2. This turn around from being a .500 team in the RS so - if trends continue - dominating the WNBA playoffs like this is completely unprecedented.

3. It's also note entirely unexpected. No one predicted a turnaround this dramatic, but when Candace Parker came to the Sky, there were high hopes.

4. Interestingly, while Parker is the most accomplished and most well-known player on the Sky, it's wrong to talk about her too prominently in what's happening. The key player in the Sky's playoff emergence has been Kahleah Copper, and in Friday's Game 3, we saw her at her most amazing:



5. What you'll see with Copper is that she's just moving like no one else. More explosive, more motor, exceptionally skilled at contorting her body to finish at the rim. Analogies to Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook come to mind, though to be clear, she's not the primary on-ball player on the Sky.

6. That would be Courtney Vandersloot, best passer in the game right now, and someone who draws analogies to Steve Nash and Jason Kidd. She's been the franchise player for the Sky the past few years, and I'll note that she's still leading the team in both minutes and +/- in the playoffs. While Copper will likely get the Finals MVP and seems poised to be the team's franchise player going forward, I'd argue that Vandersloot has still been the team's MVP this year and I'm not sure I'd pick against her for Playoff MVP.

7. For those wondering why the Chicago Sky don't have the red & black kit of the Bulls, it's because they've never had any affiliation with the Bulls. While Chicago as the #3 market in the USA could have had a WNBA franchise at the snap of a fingers, the Bulls never showed interest, so eventually an independent group got Chicago the expansion team, and they seem to be doing alright.

8. The crux of the Sky half court offensive strategy is a lineup that can play 5-out because of their shooting range - basically what the Clippers did to the Jazz last year, though we should note that the Sky really aren't taking extreme amounts of 3's and their best shooter (Quigley) hasn't really been hitting her shots. Nevertheless, this is allowing space for dribble penetration and a manipulation of opposing bigs.

9. And of course, the Sky are great in transition. Vandersloot is the best transition passer in the game, and right now I'd have to say Copper is the best finisher.

10. Worth noting that the Sky have faced 3 of the most intimidating defensive bigs in the league in the playoffs - Sylvia Fowles (DPOY), Jonquel Jones (MVP, and really should have won DPOY), and Brittney Griner. They've buzzed through everything so far while not having HCA in any of those series.

11. For the Phoenix Mercury, well they're in trouble. They've been beaten handily in Games 1 & 3 and even in Game 2 where everything (including the refs) went right for the Mercury, the "Death from the Sky" lineup had a positive +/-. They've really shown no ability to match the Sky's best.

12. For the Diana Taurasi narrative, this is really significant. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, Taurasi up to this point has won playoffs in upsets 9 times while never herself being upset...but it's looking like her team will get "upset" here, though in fairness, the Sky look nothing like the .500 team they were in the regular season. But consider on top of this that Taurasi was a key player in her 5th Olympic Gold Medal this year, just got named by fan voting the WNBA GOAT, and a win in this series would give her 4 championships which would match all superstars in WNBA history. I think she is poised to become a crossover superstar blitzing the media if she performs well and the Mercury win the series...but this is looking increasingly unlikely.

13. While I do think that the Chicago Sky's tenacious defense is a big part of the problem for the Mercury, that there seems to be a real lack of synergy between the Mercury stars despite them getting this far and upsetting 2 teams along the way. Skylar Diggins-Smith excels at driving to the paint and getting to the line (led the league in FTA this year for the 3rd time), Brittney Griner scores by getting position in the paint, and Diana Taurasi's at this point really is someone you have to be looking to get the ball to because she's not moving off-ball like she used to. I don't know what the answer is, but I will say that going forward the Mercury's ceiling is going to be about the synergy between Skylar & Griner so I'd be focused on them more than Taurasi.
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#119 » by chitownsports4ever » Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:49 pm

As someone who has watched and followed it from the start the women's game has grown tremendously. Its getting more exposure but I still feel like they are dropping the ball in maximizing that exposure . For instance if you go to WNBA store how is there no damn Chicago Sky jerseys available ? I had to go all the way to the arena to find one and thats just costing them when you consider the market.

Over the past few weeks Ive talked to quite a few people who are checking out the WNBA for the first time and are genuinely surprised at how skilled the players have become and how hard they play . They have earned quite a few new fans so it will be interesting to watch and see where it goes from here .
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Re: WNBA Playoffs 

Post#120 » by Doctor MJ » Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:57 pm

chitownsports4ever wrote:As someone who has watched and followed it from the start the women's game has grown tremendously. Its getting more exposure but I still feel like they are dropping the ball in maximizing that exposure . For instance if you go to WNBA store how is there no damn Chicago Sky jerseys available ? I had to go all the way to the arena to find one and thats just costing them when you consider the market.

Over the past few weeks Ive talked to quite a few people who are checking out the WNBA for the first time and are genuinely surprised at how skilled the players have become and how hard they play . They have earned quite a few new fans so it will be interesting to watch and see where it goes from here .


Yup, this has been a part of a major source of frustration from those who are really involved with the WNBA. To me it feels like the NBA just hasn't been putting that much effort in to actually optimizing WNBA revenue. That sounds impossible given all the complaints about the WNBA not breaking even, but I think it really shows the NBA's focus here.

If better marketing would result in, say, 20% better merch sales, that might be enough to officially turn the WNBA from a cost center to a profit center, but in terms of the NBA's total revenue, it's a drop in the bucket. Sure, they want to earn every dime of revenue they can, but they aren't hungry for every dime the way a nascent pro league in danger of folding would be.

With that said, the WNBA really seems to have hit a turning point now, and I expect things like this will be improved shortly.

Re: how skilled they are. I think one of the things that I notice is that skill remains spottier in the WNBA than in the NBA, but if you watch the right players, you see the current state of the art and it's quite impressive. I think of Vandersloot-to-Copper in transition. The only thing that's missing is the dunk, but if you like aerial twists and turns to achieve the layup - which I find more fun than most dunks when I'm watching it happen in the NBA - you're going to get that reliably from that duo.
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