The WNBA season ended Sunday, making it official: Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike is the most efficienct shooter in the history of professional basketball.
Ogwumike, considered a favorite to with the WNBA MVP award, finished her 2016 campaign with a field goal percentage of 66.5 percent. That, by itself, is impressive—second all-time in WNBA single seasons to Tamika Raymond's 66.8 percent back in 2003.
But that is raw field goal percentage, which doesn't take into account how and where she shot from. Ogumike made 66.9 percent of her twos, but incredibly, managed to shoot 16-for-26 from three-point range this year, good for a 61.5 percent clip.
Add in an 86.9 percent rate on free throws, and Ogwumike finished with a true shooting percentage of 73.7 percent.
If that number sounds absurdly high, that's because it is.
No one in WNBA history has ever approached it. In fact, no one had cracked 70 percent in WNBA history until Ogwumike in 2016—Candice Dupree came closest, at 69.97 percent, back in 2010.
Nor, by the way, has the NBA seen anything like this, despite the fact that dunks, the highest-percentage shot there is, are far more prevalent in the men's game. Tyson Chandler holds the single-season record for true shooting percentage in NBA history, checking in at 70.8 percent back in 2011-12, the year of Linsanity. The top ten consists mostly of hyper-efficient center campaigns—three from Chandler, three from Artis Gilmore, a late-career Wilt Chamberlain. Tim Legler and Kyle Korver shot threes sufficiently well enough to get there, as is forgotten Portland point guard Dave Twardzik, who got plenty of open looks thanks to Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton en route to the 1976-77 NBA title.
But none of them found the range across the court, doing it every way possible, the way Ogwumike just did. Let's not forget: at one point earlier this season, she made 23 straight shots. 23!
"I've been coaching in women's professional basketball for 20 years and I've coached two previous MVP's (Nikki McCray in Columbus/ABL 1997 and Lauren Jackson in Seattle 2010)," Sparks coach Brian Agler said in an email. "With that being said, I've never been around a player in a specific season, on a specific team, that deserves an MVP award like Nneka Ogwumike does this season in the WNBA."
The Sparks finished with the second seed in the WNBA, and were granted the double bye, so they await their playoff opponent for a series that will begin on September 28 in Los Angeles, broadcast on ESPN2.