A Decade of Diana: No. 5
By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: March 14, 2013
In celebration of Diana Taurasi being named as the X-Factor’s Favorite Mercury Player of All-Time, and coinciding with the superstar entering her 10th year with the Mercury in 2013, PhoenixMercury.com has launched a special tribute series entitled, “A Decade of Diana.” Every Thursday starting Feb. 7 for 10 weeks, we’ll relive Taurasi’s 10 best moments with the team since her arrival in 2004.
Taurasi Moment No. 5: The Scorer
“I’m not going to change on the court, that’s just the way I play whether I’m a rookie or an 18-year veteran. I just go out there and compete.”
Diana Taurasi is the greatest scorer in WNBA history.
That’s not only this writer’s opinion, it’s a fact.
Taurasi is the fastest player in league history to eclipse 4,000 career points (197 games), the first player in league history to record 500 or more points in each of her first five seasons, scored 500 or more points in her first eight WNBA seasons (the longest streak by any player in league history), the only player in WNBA history to score 600 or more points in six consecutive seasons (2006-2011), the only player in WNBA history to record 800 points in a season (2006, 2008), owns the WNBA record for most consecutive games with at least one made three-pointer (55 games), scored in double figures in a franchise-record 50 consecutive games (July 1, 2009 – Aug. 13, 2010), owns league scoring records for scoring average in a season (25.3 ppg), points in a season (860), the single-game scoring record (47) and has scored 20 or more points over 150 times in her career (the most in WNBA history).
But not only has Taurasi reached those numbers, she’s been extraordinarily efficient on all areas of the floor while doing so.
At first glance, her numbers certainly stand out. Taurasi has a career average of 20.6 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the foul line.
However, if you take a closer look at her offensive stats, they become even more impressive. She has a career offensive rating (an estimate of points produced per 100 possessions) of 112.2, which is 6th all-time. Additionally, she has ranked No. 1 in offensive win shares (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player) three times (7.2 – 2008, 4.7 – 2009, 5.0 – 2011).
Taurasi also has a career usage percentage (an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while she was on the floor) of 28.33, good for 2nd amongst all active players. Remarkably, she is the only player in WNBA history to rank in the top five all-time in usage percentage (3rd) and offensive win shares (4th).
On top of that, Taurasi has maintained a career assist percentage (an estimate of teammate field goals a player assisted while she was on the floor) of 23.7, 8th most amongst all active WNBA players.
But what does all of this mathematical drivel mean?
From a statistical standpoint, a quality player is defined as someone who has a high efficiency rating but also a high usage percentage – and Taurasi unquestionably fits that bill. She ranks 5th amongst active players with an average efficiency rating of 24.3 and, as mentioned above, is 3rd all-time with a usage percentage of 28.33.
Or, to be increasingly blunt, it means that if you combine her scoring and playmaking abilities together, Taurasi can account for 40-50 percent of the Mercury’s offense during any given game.
The most amazing part? She’s done that for nine years as a member of your Phoenix Mercury.
And in college…
…but that’s a story for another day.
A Decade of Diana
Visit PhoenixMercury.com on Thursday, March 21 for the No. 4 moment in “A Decade of Diana.”