With a 4-1 start to the season, the Mercury has matched the best five-game start in franchise history (1998, 2002, 2007, 2009).
Perhaps more significantly, it's the vast improvements on both ends of the floor that has turned heads.
And while five games is indeed a small sample size by comparison, the numbers have been consistent enough to (at the very least) discuss the team's notable improvements.
Pundits will reference how the Mercury has only played five games in the 2014 season so far, but that's about 1/7 of the entire season. For comparisons sake, in the NBA, 1/7 of their season would be about 11 or 12 games.
But I digress.
After their 87-72 win against the Storm earlier in the week, the Mercury improved their WNBA-best scoring differential to +11.0 points. It's worth noting that 14 of the 17 championships in WNBA history have been won by that season's scoring differential leader, including the Mercury in 2009. Phoenix also currently leads the league in field goal percentage differential, three-point percentage differential and blocks per game differential.
Defensively, the Mercury owns the league's second-best scoring defense (72.2). They also boast a 42.2 opponent field goal percentage which ranks fourth-best in the WNBA. Phoenix allows the fewest opponent rebounds in the league (28.4) and the fewest opponent assists per game (14.0).
Offensively, the Mercury is becoming increasingly efficient with every game. They are second in the league in scoring (83.2), second in free-throw percentage (83.2), first in field goal percentage (51.0) and first in three-point percentage (40.5). They rank top five in the league in six offensive statistical categories (field goals made, field goal percentage, three-point field goals made, three-point field goal percentage, free-throws made, free-throw percentage).
To put everything in context, Phoenix has played four of its first five games at home during a span of 18 days. The Mercury now embarks on a tough road trip where they'll play five games in 10 days (Tulsa, San Antonio, Washington, Connecticut, Minnesota).
That is to say, this road trip will undoubtedly be a good barometer of where the team truly stands. If their hot start is any indication, it certainly bodes well for the Mercury moving forward.