It’s time for another big feature drop at Across the Timeline, a new tool to dramatically expand the access to WNBA data.
A couple years ago, the WNBA Stat Finder and WNBA Records Database were introduced to provide quick access to WNBA game, season, and career records for players, teams, and coaches. At the time, there were no public searches quite like it for the WNBA.
Those tools have enabled media, teams, and fans alike to find new levels of information about the WNBA, as in Yahoo! Sports, Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks game recaps, Winsidr, L.A. Daily News, Nets Republic, The Hartford Courant, and Zone Coverage, Queen Ballers Club, among many others.
Today, I introduce the WNBA Data Explorer to combine those two tools and expand their capabilities many times over. Everything you could do in the first Stat Finder is available in the new Data Explorer, along with most of the capabilities of the WNBA Records Database (and what’s not there yet will be there soon).
Let’s jump in to the full capabilities, along with several practical examples.
The first thing to do on the Data Explorer is specify what you are looking for in the searches drop-down list.
Here are the types of searches currently available:
- Player game search: Find all individual player game lines matching specified statistical and/or game type information; count games matching specified criteria by player, season, team, and/or opponent; or list individual player games by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Player season search: Find all individual player season info matching specified statistical, game type, and/or award criteria; count player seasons matching specified criteria by player and/or season; or list individual player seasons by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Player career search: Find all individual players matching specified statistical and/or game type information or count for their career (along with age and number of games to milestones, where applicable) or list individual player careers by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Debut game search: Find all debut player game lines matching specified statistical and/or game type information; count debut games matching specified criteria by season, team, and/or opponent; or list individual debut games by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Team game search: Find all individual team game lines matching specified statistical and/or game type information; count games matching specified criteria by season, team, and/or opponent; or list individual team games by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Team starters game search: Considering starter stats only, find all individual team game lines matching specified statistical and/or game type information; count games matching specified criteria by season, team, and/or opponent; or list individual team games by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Team reserve game search: Considering reserve player stats only, find all individual team game lines matching specified statistical and/or game type information; count games matching specified criteria by season, team, and/or opponent; or list individual team games by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Team season search: Find all team season info matching specified statistical and/or game type criteria; count team seasons matching specified criteria by team and/or season; or list individual team seasons by most/fewest of a stat with specified criteria
- Team single game player counter: Count the number of players matching specified criteria playing for the same team in a game and list team/game combinations by either most/fewest matches
- Single game player counter: Count the number of players matching specified criteria playing in a game and list games by either most/fewest matches
- Team win/loss streaks: List the longest winning or losing streaks matching specified criteria
Many more coming soon, including coaching milestones! For now, coach game, win, and loss counts are available in the WNBA Records Database.
Filters and settings
Every search has a series of filters and settings that allow you to specify the results you want. Many of the searches share similar types of settings, so I’ll run through how they work in one place.
Current filter settings are listed under the name of the search.
Click/tap any one of these items to expand the display to specify the settings you want for your search for that filter, as with the Game Types filter shown here:
If you see the orange bar to the left of the filter description (as with “Regular season only” in the screenshot above), that filter is set and is restricting results in some way. That provides a quick way to check what filters you currently have set.
Let’s dig in to the types of filters and settings you will see.
Show results by…
Most searches will have a set of options for what results should be shown and how. Here’s an example from the player game search:
In general, this setting will not affect what data is searched but how it is displayed.
- Show all matches: It’s as simple as it sounds; this is the default option to list every result found.
- Show N by most/fewest X: List just a specified number of matches based on a statistic
- Count by Player/Season/Franchise/Opposing Franchise/etc.: Instead of listing the matches, count the number of matches based on the grouping(s) specified. You can select any combination of one or more of these.
For most searches, you can specify statistical requirements for the player or team.
The screenshot shows one example, a search for games where the player had 10 or more points and a three-point attempt rate of 0.4 or better. A wide array of stats are available for each search, as categorized in this screenshot as Basic, Advanced, and Miscellaneous stats.
Game info criteria
The next several filters are fairly straightforward:
- Game Type: Regular season, All Star, Playoffs, or Finals (or any combination of them)
- Game Length: Regulation or some number of overtimes (or any)
- Result: Win, loss, or either
- Player Type: Starter, reserve, or either
- Team: Any past and present teams can be selected, along with any combination of one or more of them
- Opponent: Any past and present teams can be selected, along with any combination of one or more of them
- Team Type: Home, away, or either
Date and timing criteria
Several searches provide the ability to specify very particular date and/or timing requirements for the search.
- No requirement: No restrictions on when the games occurred
- Specific date range: Enter a specific starting date or ending date (or both) to search within
- Season: Search only within the chosen season
- All Star seasons: Search only within official All Star years
- Non-All Star seasons: Search only within years with no official All Star selections
In addition to date requirements (or on its own), you can look specifically within one half of the season(s) being searched. Due to the inconsistent nature of WNBA seasons, the “halfway point” is dependent on the season being played, so it may align with the All Star break, Olympic break, or just the literal middle of the regular season games, depending on the year.
This can be useful to see how players or teams perform prior to the All Star break or if certain players or teams come on (or slow down) during the stretch run of the regular season, for example.
Within several of the searches, you can restrict results to players matching experience requirements.
- Any: No requirement
- First year only: Include players who had not played in a WNBA game prior to that season
- Specify prior years played: Specify particular prior years played (e.g. “More than 10 years played prior,” “No more than 5 years played,” etc.)
Within the player season search, you can restrict players searched by what awards/honors they won (or did not win).
Each group specifies a different requirement, and multiple awards/honors can be checked in any group:
- At least one of: Only include players who were given at least one of the specified awards/honors in that season (particularly useful for including anyone on the All-WNBA First Team or the All-WNBA Second Team, for example)
- All of: Only include players who were given all of the specified awards/honors in that season
- None of: Only include players who were not given any of the specified awards/honors in that season
Once you have set up your filters and press the play button, the search will start and come back with a comprehensive table of results.
Some features of the result table:
- Sortable columns: Most columns are sortable (up or down) by clicking/tapping the column header. Most searches will start with a default sorting, but you can adjust that, including holding CTRL (or your keyboard equivalent) to sort by multiple columns. The orange bar above or below a column header will indicate if it is sorted and in which direction.
- Interesting columns: If you specify in the filter you want to list by a particular stat or filter by a particular stat, that column will be moved up to the front and highlighted to make it easier to find the information you are interested in. For example, in the screenshot above, I searched for the top 10 seasons by PPG, so the PPG is listed first among the stats and is highlighted.
- Share the results: On the left side of the screen above the filters is a link icon which you can click/tap to produce a unique URL to get back to this search with the same filter settings. These searches are live, which means if you return after more games are played, the results may be different.
- Screenshot the table: On the left side of the screen above the filters there is a camera icon which you can click/tap to produce a screenshot of the result table. This is currently restricted to tables with 50 or fewer rows.
- Export the table: Next to the camera icon is a CSV icon you can click/tap to produce a spreadsheet file with the data from the result table.
- Linked data: Some data items appear as links to relevant pages. For example, in the screenshot above, you can click/tap a player name to bring up their full profile, or you can click/tap the season to bring up their statistics and game logs for that particular season.
- Column selector: For most searches, in the top-left corner of the table is an icon that looks like a table with a +/- which brings up a box where you can select particular columns to show/hide in the table. You can decide what information you are interested in and filter the display, though some key columns are required.
Here’s the column selector icon…
…and the resulting display where you can select specific columns:
There are some columns you will see used for many of the searches. Most are straightforward, but I want to clarify a few:
- Season #: which season of that player’s career the data is relevant to; for example, a season # of 12 would indicate that the player appeared in at least one game in 11 seasons prior to the year that game was in
- Gm #: what game in the player’s career this stat line corresponds to; these are segmented based on game type, so they are counted separately in the regular season (prefixed with R-), playoffs (prefixed with P-), and All Star games (prefixed with A-)
- Miscellaneous: in case these aren’t clear, the miscellaneous stats are 20/20 (games with 20 points and 20 rebounds), DD (double-double), DQ (disqualifications via 6 personal fouls), PA-DD (points/assists double-double), PR-DD (points/rebounds double-double), and TD (triple-double)
To both show what the Data Explorer can do and provide templates to easily build new searches from, here are several examples for each type of search:
Debut game search
Player career search
Player game search
Player season search
Team single game player counter
A timely one:
The search is right here
The single game player counter works the same, but aggregates players from both teams.
Team game search
Team season search
Team win/loss streaks