I know, I know. Everyone argues foul calls. This isn't a new concept. But when there’s one that’s this egregious, it must be written about. A’ja Wilson, the 2020 MVP and anchor of the best team in women’s basketball, was whistled for her sixth and final foul on a charge in the last four minutes of the Aces’ win over the Wings on Sunday. It also marked the sixth and final questionable call on the forward. "A'ja Wilson needs to get more respect.....on both ends of the floor,” her team’s coach, Becky Hammon, said after the game. “She's the former MVP. I don't like how the game was officiated. That's two games in a row." While giving preferential treatment to superstars is … not exactly fair, neither is pitting all 50/50 (and some worse) calls against the same player over and over. Here's proof:
After the game, Wilson used humor to talk about the issue, and even noted that a referee apologized for one of the calls being incorrect. That’s wild!
Choosing the favorites for the MVP award five weeks into the season is chaos and a challenge I did not need to bring onto myself, yet here we are.
I broke down my top-10 choices into two tiers. The first tier includes the most likely winners of the award based on team record right now. The second tier includes standouts on worse teams.
1. Jackie Young, Aces (+2500, bet $100 to win $2,500)
The Jackie Young for MVP and Most Improved Player agenda isn’t going to push itself. Yes, I’m painfully aware of her sprained ankle which cost her Sunday’s game and likely a few more — but to date, she’s only missed that single game.
Simply put, Young has been the most dynamic two-way force on the best team in the league. She’s averaging 19.2 points on 54% shooting from the field, 45.7% shooting from 3-point range and 87% shooting from the free throw line. She’s scorching everyone.
2. A’ja Wilson, Aces (+250, bet $100 to win $250)
Wilson’s scoring numbers (16.1 points per game) have dipped a bit from last year (18.3) and her MVP season (20.5), but it’s not for a lack of efficient shooting. She's just had fewer opportunities (1.6 per 100 possessions) by design of the Aces’ new system. Everything she’s done this year has been at an elite level (when referees allow), and the only reason I have her in the second spot is because her points rank just third on her own team.
3. Alyssa Thomas, Sun
Finally, a non-Aces player! Thomas, despite playing yet another year on two bad shoulders, is having a career year for a team just a shade below Vegas in the standings. She’s averaging the second-highest point total of her career (14.9) with her second-best rebounding total (8.8) and career-best play-making marks (5.7 assists).
4. Kelsey Plum, Aces (+400, bet $100 to win $400)
Yeah that’s a third Aces player in the top-4, and it took this long to get to their most prolific scorer. Plum is unlocked this season scoring 19.8 points per game on 46% shooting on 7.3 attempts per night from 3-point range. Her six assists are a career-best, and though the turnovers are a shade high (2.8 per game), she’s pushing Las Vegas to an offensive pace few can keep up to.
5. Jonquel Jones, Sun (+800, bet $100 to win $800)
Keep an eye out for the reigning MVP, who has scored 69 points on 23-of-34 shooting with 22 rebounds over her last three games. That includes eight 3-pointers for the 6’6 center. She’s just heating up.