WNBA

WNBA MVP Race: Stewart vs. Everyone

Folks, this MVP race belongs to one player: Breanna Stewart.

The case for Stewart is fairly easy to make. She led the WNBA’s best (and most consistent) team to the no. 1 seed as Seattle’s go-to scorer. Stewart ranks in the top-10 in almost all statistical categories.

21.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 52.9 FG%, 41.5 3P%

Her stat line speaks for itself, and it will most likely propel her to win her first MVP. However, media writers have found ways in the past to botch choosing the “right” player to take home those honors. For all we know, it could very well happen again this year. Here are the other MVP candidates that could steal the award from Stewart.

Liz Cambage

Photo Courtesy: womensagenda.com.au

There were a few weeks where it looked as if Cambage was going to be crowned the 2018 MVP. After being out of the league for four years, she obliterated the single-game scoring record with 53 points against the Liberty. There were only two 40 point games this season, and Cambage has both of them. One of those games came in the last game of the season to get the Wings into the playoffs. Cambage led the league in scoring and actually has similar numbers to Stewart:

23.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 1.7 BPG, 58.9 FG%, 32.4% 3P%

If Cambage takes this award from Stewart, it’ll be because the Dallas center didn’t have the supporting cast around her to thrive. Outside of superstar Skylar Diggins, none of the other Wings averaged more than 8.0 PPG. Because of that, Cambage attracted the attention of the defense and was constantly doubled and tripled-teamed. Not to mention that there was turmoil brewing in Dallas as the team fired Fred Williams just a few games before the start of the playoffs.

Cambage’s comeback will have to be the dominating narrative for her to win. However, since her numbers are almost identical to Stewart’s along with the Wings getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs, Cambage probably won’t get the award.

Elena Delle Donne

Photo Courtesy: slamonline.com

Just in case you weren’t aware, Elena Delle Donne is a freaking wizard. Since the star guard/forward was shipped to Washington, the Mystics have regained contender status. Delle Donne is an offensive threat anytime up the floor and her numbers this season prove that:

20.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 48.8 FG%, 40.5 3P%

Her ability to score from anywhere on the court helped the Mystics go on a 9-1 run at the end of the season to capture the three seed. However, Delle Donne’s talent and mentality as a scorer has detracted from her assist rate (only 2.3 APG which was a career-high). Not to mention that Dallas runs a pass friendly, whip the ball around the key type of system that takes away potential assists from her. If she had more assists per game, Delle Donne might be the clear front-runner. That might sound nitpicky, but this year’s MVP candidates are just that good.

Diana Taurasi

Photo Courtesy: seattletimes.com

Taurasi’s numbers are probably not going to get her the second MVP of her career. But if we were going to look at this award as the player that is most valuable to her team, it is hard to picture where the Mercury would be without the GOAT. Without Taurasi, the offense would have had to go through Brittney Griner on every possession and Griner would be faced with more attention on offense.

Statistically, this is her best scoring season since 2013 (20.7 PPG) while posting 5.3 APG and 3.5 RPG. Those numbers won’t push her over Stewart, but Taurasi could get some GOAT votes (votes accumulated from members idolizing all-time greats).

Maybe this is recency bias after Taurasi’s domination in the playoffs so far, but it is hard to imagine her not being talked about in this discussion.

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