We’re almost across the finish line and into the playoffs, meaning the award votes are going to come in soon. Leading the way for MVP are 2020 winner A’ja Wilson and 2018 winner Breanna Stewart.
Wilson’s 19.3 points are a tad shy of the 20.5 she posted two years ago, but she’s shooting more efficiently from the field at 50.2% and she’s made 25 of 66 3-point tries, which is 24 more than she’s ever made before. She’s also averaging 9.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks. The Aces sit in second place with a chance to take the No. 1 seed.
Stewart’s 2018 MVP season was more impressive, but she’s having a helluva year as well, scoring 21.1 points on 46% shooting with 7.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks. The Storm are the No. 4 seed currently.
Does anyone else belong in the mix?
Kelsey Plum: 20.3 points, 5.0 assists
Plum’s put together a Most Improved Player of the Year case and could make an All-WNBA team. But an MVP award win would mean she’s had a better season than Wilson, and I think that’s too tough to argue.
Skylar Diggins-Smith: 20.0 points, 5.8 assists
Diggins-Smith has kept the Mercury afloat despite the absence of Brittney Griner, the season-ending injury to Kia Nurse and the inconsistent play of Diana Taurasi. But a sub .500 record should take her out of contention.
Nneka Ogwumike: 18.6 points, 6.9 rebounds
Ogwumike’s putting up tremendous numbers and is willing her team — despite a Liz Cambage departure and Derek Fisher firing — towards a playoff spot. Same goes for her, though. A sub .500 team can’t have an MVP barring a 1-of-1 performance.
Candace Parker: 13.6 points, 8.9 rebounds
The No. 1 team in the league doesn’t have an MVP favorite because of how well-balanced they are. Parker’s (relative) low scoring will probably keep her out of contention.
Elena Delle Donne: 17.6 points, 6.1 rebounds
Without the minutes restrictions and the rest games, EDD could win this award. She’s a fraction of a percent off from a 50/40/90 season for the No. 5 Mystics. But the injury management — while crucial to her performances — will take her out of the running.
Alyssa Thomas: 13.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.1 assists
AT might have the best case of any non-Wilson or Stewart player. She’s elite on both sides of the ball and crucial in ways the box score can’t read on the defensive end. Her lower-end scoring only takes away from her chances if the Sun can’t creep into the top seed — or if Jonquel Jones takes the spotlight in the process. Not impossible, but not likely.
This award is almost definitely going to Wilson or Stewart.