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
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
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
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
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.
6. Breanna Stewart, Storm
She’s had a slow start from 3-point range, but is scoring 20.4 points per game with 7.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.9 steals and a block. These are MVP numbers, but Seattle’s 5-5 record won’t cut it.
7. Elena Delle Donne, Mystics
The rest schedule is going to likely hold her back from winning MVP this season, unless she goes truly supersonic and D.C. finishes in the top-2. She’s scoring 17.5 points on 49.1% shooting from the field and 38.9% shooting from range.
8. Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks
Don’t let the Sparks’ sluggish start distract you from Ogwumike scoring her highest point total since 2017 at 18 per game on a ridiculous 59.7% shooting. She’s also made 9 out of 20 3-point tries while pulling down 7.5 boards.
9. Candace Parker, Sky
Parker’s numbers aren’t gaudy, but they’re impactful everywhere. Chicago has the third-best record in the league because she’s dishing 4.7 assists to go along with her 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds.
10. Sylvia Fowles, Lynx
The Lynx are a mess, but in her final season, Syl is pulling down 10.7 boards with 17.1 points, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks.
11. Rhyne Howard, Dream
A 7-5 Dream team led by rookie Howard, who is scoring 16.2 points per game with 3.9 boards and 2.3 assists! This is everything Atlanta fans could’ve asked for.