In a series full of surefire Hall of Famers like Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Brittney Griner and Courtney Vandersloot, one player is separating herself from the crowd. And it’s none of them.
Kahleah Copper has exceeded all expectations as one of the world’s best rim-runners, slashers, and finishers around the rim. She’s the first player down the court on every fastbreak and her athleticism has puzzled even the Mercury’s best shot-blockers.
In Game 1 of the Finals, Copper was the star. This is who she’s been for the last two seasons, but finally she’s holding the biggest stage to show off her otherworldly vertical and unrelenting passion for snatching o-boards from the opposing team’s grips.
Copper’s futures odds to win Finals MVP are high, but probably not high enough. Griner’s odds are best at 9/5, Vandersloot’s are second-best at 4/1, and Copper’s are third at 5/1. (Parker’s are 7/1 and the field is 3/1).
It shouldn’t be hard to convince yourself of Copper’s series potential after what she showcased on night one. The 6’1 guard double-doubled in the win with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Don’t expect this trend to stop anytime soon either. The 27-year-old has scored at least 13 points in all seven playoff games she’s been in and notched double-digit boards twice.
With the Mercury’s best wing defender in Kia Nurse sidelined for the rest of the year to a torn ACL, Copper’s likely to have a field day against the Mercury’s defense. And while her legendary teammates draw all the focus, Copper will continue to score buckets.
Term of the Day
Tip of the day
Copper was Game 1’s leading scorer, and there’s a good chance she finishes the series that way too. Also with the Sky taking away homecourt advantage, they are now the favorite to win it all, meaning Griner feels like a longshot play rather than a frontrunner.