After yesterday's HUGE news of the sale of the team to a group of local women who will keep the team in Seattle, today brings the announcement of our new Head Coach. Former San Antonio Silver Stars assistant and Minnesota Lynx head coach Brian Agler will take over both the head coaching and general manager positions.
I didn't become a women's basketball fan during Agler's head coaching days with the Lynx or in the ABL, so it is hard for me to form a useful opinion so I have tried to look at the statistics of his teams.
His Lynx teams had a defensive rating right around 96-97 points per 100 possesions, though his offense was rather poor with his best year being 2000 with almost 98 points per 100 possesions. Offensively I can't imagine the Storm dropping off too much if you look at the players on the roster. Defensively it will be interesting and we will have to see who he fills the roster with in terms of draft picks, free agents and trades.
Lynx Offensive Rating: 93.74
Offense Compared to League: -3.30
Lynx Defensive Rating: 97.24
Defense Compared to League: +0.19
The Lynx were well below the league average offensively but only a little worse defensively in their expansion year.
Lynx Offensive Rating: 97.81
Offense Compared to League: -0.33
Lynx Defensive Rating: 97.58
Defense Compared to League: -0.59
In their second season the Lynx pulled closer to the league offensively and actually climbed above average on the defensive end of the floor. This was Seattle's expansion year and they were much worse offensively (83.81) and defensively (99.86) than Minnesota.
Lynx Offensive Rating: 92.86
Offense Compared to League: -2.13
Lynx Defensive Rating: 96.39
Defense Compared to League: +1.45
In their third season (the final under Agler) the Lynx fell below the league average in both categories which likely led to his firing. The Storm in their second season improved their offense (89.78) but still trailed Minnesota, while significantly improving their defense (95.71) to a better rating than Minnesota. Lauren Jackson's rookie addition likely led to both improvements.
In 2002 Seattle continued its growth with a huge boost on offense (98.93) to a better number than Minnesota ever had under Agler, and the defense got even better (94.99) giving Seattle better than average ratings at both ends of the floor. This was Sue Bird's rookie year.
Once Anne Donovan took over in 2003 the Storm continued their offensive improvement but began to backtrack on defense. 2004 was Seattle's best defensive year under Anne Donovan (95.06) , but other than that the Storm were fairly poor defensively giving up between 98-101 points per 100 possesions.
If the Storm were able to maintain their offensive strength under Agler but also reach his average of around 96 points per 100 possessions defensively they would be as strong as they were in their championship season.
The key to improving Seattle's defense has to lie in its perimeter play. They must find a way to limit penetration and improve their defensive field goal percentage. Agler's 2001 Lynx team limited opponents to 39% shooting from the field, Seattle never did better than 41% under Anne Donovan including their 2004 championship season. This leaves room for hope, and I am looking forward to seeing Coach Agler's next steps.