With the WNBA season at the halfway point of the “Wubble”, it’s about that time to hand out some midseason hardware. Even though some of the league’s top players (Elena Delle Donne, Liz Cambage, Tina Charles and Maya Moore) among others are not playing this season, there is still plenty of outstanding talent and performances going on this season.
So, myself and Courtlandt Griffin will give you our choices for some of the WNBA’s top honors as we have hit the halfway point in the season.
Most Valuable Player:
Danny Thompson: Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
Stewart has not only returned after missing last season, she has returned to the 2018 WNBA MVP level in the Wubble. Not only is she the fourth leading scorer in the league (18.9 points per game), she’s in the top 15 in the league in rebounding, steals and blocks, as well as offensive and defensive rating. But more impressive, she leads the league in Offensive, Defensive and Total Win Shares. Plus, Seattle has the best record in the entire league.
Courtlandt Griffin: A’ja Wilson, Forward, Las Vegas Aces
The Las Vegas Aces are playing lights out right now with the second-best record in the WNBA. That is in big part thanks to star Forward A’ja Wilson, who has been nothing but consistent this year. She is not only an anchor on defense but is the team’s prime option on offense (20.3 ppg) as well, earning her my MVP.
Defensive Player Of The Year:
Danny Thompson: Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
There have only been two players (Sheryl Swoopes twice and Lisa Leslie) in the history of the league to be MVP and Defensive Player of the year in the same season. Why should she win? It’s for the same reasons why she’s the league’s Most Valuable Player this season.
Courtlandt Griffin: Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
If we are speaking solely on complete defenders then Breanna Stewart has been that thus far this year. Her ability to not only get out on the perimeter and guard on-ball but also protect the rim is ultra valuable. Her defense has been a driver for the league leading Seattle Storm.
Most Improved Player:
Danny Thompson: Betnijah Laney, Atlanta Dream
Betnijah was a last minute addition to the Dream roster after Atlanta had five key rotational players either opt-out or miss for the start of the season. Known for her defense (last season she was ninth in the league in steals), Laney has improved her game on offense, now becoming one of the best two way players in the league. She has increased her scoring by close to 10 points per game (9.8) and is on pace to hit more three pointers (on pace for 32) than she has made in her entire career.
Courtlandt Griffin: Kahleah Copper, Chicago Sky
Copper has been a major bright spot this season for a middle of the pack Chicago team. Her almost seven point improvement over last year, and 10% jump in 3 point percentage have made her a solid contributor for the Sky. Cooper has done more than improved this season, she has transformed.
Sixth Woman Of The Year:
Danny Thompson: Bria Hartley, Phoenix Mercury
This season has been the best in Hartley’s career. She is 11th in the league in scoring, seventh in three pointers made per game and she averages four points per game more than the next person who comes off the bench on a regular basis. She is also averaging 4.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game as the lead catalyst of Sandy Brondello’s team off the bench.
Courtlandt Griffin: Riquna Williams, Los Angeles Sparks
Williams is a long way from her 51 point hey days but she is still a big contributor for the Sparks. Averaging 13 points per game and 50% from deep, she has helped the Sparks to a 7-3 record (T-3rd best in WNBA). The 30 year old is showing she still has some pep in her step and is my pick for Sixth Woman of the Year.
Rookie Of The Year:
Danny Thompson: Chennedy Carter, Atlanta Dream
Even though she is on the injured list currently, Carter has been far and away the best rookie so far this season. She has proven that she is a big time scorer and player in the opening half of the campaign. Carter is seventh in the league in scoring and is the youngest player in league history to score 30 or points in a single game, when she scored 35 against the Seattle Storm.
Courtlandt Griffin: Chennedy Carter, Atlanta Dream
The Atlanta Dream have only one dream right now and that is that Chennedy Carter continues to ball out this year. Being the only bright spot in a dim arena can be daunting but Carter is as good as they come in her rookie season. She should be able to keep her ROTY campaign going through the end of the year.
Coach of The Year:
Danny Thompson: Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota Lynx
It is one thing to improve on your record from the previous season. Doing it without your All-Star Point Guard (Odyssey Sims) for the opening eight games is something completely different. Even without Sims and Sylvia Fowler missing three games, the Lynx still have the second best defense in the league. In a loaded Western Conference, the Lynx under Reeve’s outstanding coaching have become a darkhorse team to win the championship.
Courtlandt Griffin: Bill Laimbeer, Las Vegas Aces
It’s hard not to give a glowing review on ex-Bad Boy Piston Bill Laimbeer. As coach of the Aces he has brought that same hard nose attitude that made Michael Jordan hate him to Vegas and these ladies thrive on it. Sitting at 8-2, the Aces are as follows: second in team field goal percentage, first in rebounding, first in points per game and second in overall plus-minus. Laimbeer deserves to be Coach of the Year in my book.