WNBA midseason award picks: A'ja Wilson running away with MVP; Caitlin Clark leading Rookie of the Year race


Every team in the WNBA has reached the 20-game mark, and so now that we’re officially halfway through the 2024 season, it’s time to take stock of the league and the various award races. While some honors (MVP) are essentially wrapped up already, others (Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year) look likely to go down to the wire. 

Here are the top performers this summer, as well as a look back on how they do or do not differ from the pre-season predictions.  

MVP: A’ja Wilson, Aces

Wilson narrowly missed out on her third MVP award in 2023, but that won’t happen again. She has been the best player in the league since opening night, when she went off for 30 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Her 27 points per game would be the highest single-season scoring average in WNBA history, she’s one of four players averaging a double-double, and is in the top-five of every major statistical category besides assists. And now that the Aces have won seven of their last eight games, the one potential knock against her — their poor record to start the season — no longer applies. 

Pre-season pick: Wilson

Defensive Player of the Year: Napheesa Collier, Lynx

player headshot

The Lynx are the surprise team of the season, and sit two games out of first place largely because of their dominant, league-leading defense, which is allowing just 92 points per 100 possessions. Collier’s versatility and smarts are a major reason for their success on that side of the ball. Her 2.2 steals. 1.5 blocks and 7.6 defensive rebounds are all career-highs, and she’s one of two players in the top-five in both steals and blocks. She’s also atop the defensive win shares chart by a wide margin with 2.5. 

Pre-season pick: Ezi Magbegor, Storm

Rookie of the Year: Caitlin Clark, Fever

player headshot

Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, has been an offensive dynamo, just as everyone expected following her incredible collegiate career. She leads all rookies in scoring, assists (also second in the league in that category) and 3-pointers, is on pace to become the fourth player, and first rookie, with a 15/5/5 season and recently became the first rookie ever to record a triple-double. And she’s doing all of it while being the No. 1 name on every opponent’s scouting report. 

Pre-season pick: Clark

MIP: DiJonai Carrington, Sun

player headshot

Carrington has shown steady improvement ever since entering the league as a second-round pick, and has taken another big step this season. Sun coach Stephanie White moved her into the starting lineup and has given her the toughest perimeter assignments on the defensive end. Meanwhile, Carrington is scoring in double figures for the first time in her career and has increased her numbers across the board. She’s been a big reason why the Sun are once again near the top of the standings. 

Pre-season pick: Shakira Austin, Mystics

Sixth Player of the Year: Chennedy Carter, Sky

player headshot

After sitting out last season, Carter signed a training camp contract with the Sky without many expectations. She not only made the roster, but has forced her way into the starting lineup and shown why she was a former lottery pick. Carter will not be eligible for this award by the end of the season, but at the mid-way point she is the obvious choice. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Carter’s season is her finishing ability in the paint. Despite being just 5-foot-9, she’s shooting 71% in the restricted area on five attempts per game. 

Pre-season pick: Myisha Hines-Allen, Mystics

Coach of the Year: Cheryl Reeve, Lynx

The Lynx were projected to make the playoffs, but no one thought they would win the Commissioner’s Cup and be one of the best teams in the league at the halfway mark of the season. Reeve deserves a lot of credit for Minnesota’s success. They added a number of new pieces during the winter and she’s figured out how to make them all click, especially on the defensive end where the Lynx have been the class of the league. 

Pre-season pick: Christie Sides, Fever

Executive of the Year: Talisa Rhea, Storm

Rhea pretty much locked up this award in February when she inked two future Hall of Famers in free agency in Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith. While the new-look squad got off to a slow start, they have quietly climbed the standings in recent weeks and established themselves as one of the league’s best teams. 

Pre-season pick: Rhea

WNBA Finals: Aces over Liberty

The Aces got off to a poor start amid injuries and Candace Parker’s retirement, but since Chelsea Gray has returned to the lineup they are 7-1 with a plus-14.8 net rating. Regardless of their current record, they remain the title favorites for a reason. They have the best player in the world in A’ja Wilson, an All-Star core with championship experience and improved their depth by bringing Tiffany Hayes out of retirement. 

Pre-season pick: Aces over Liberty





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top