Should most of the improvements be replaced by a return prize, like Sabrina Ionescu?

It’s getting closer to WNBA award season and the question on the horizon is which one is Breanna Stewart or A’ja Wilson? Will win MVP again. Second, can a team (Las Vegas Aces) have two MVP candidates (Wilson and Kelsey Plum)? Should Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins Smith be in the feud?

While the MVP is on everyone’s mind, there is a lot going on in the polls for the Sixth Player, Rookie, Defensive, and Best Enhanced Player awards. In addition to having a coach of the year and a CEO of the year.

Outside of the Sixth Player, which Connecticut forward Sun Brionna Jones appears to be locking up, the decision is far from unanimous. And there’s one prize in particular that frustrates these voters season after season.

The most advanced player must be crossed off the ballot. It’s the most subjective of them all and can largely depend on usage and list building on player improvement over the course of the year. Isn’t everyone getting better anyway? Most players make this “jump” into professional play at some point.

2021 Ballot Text for Most Improved Player noting that the award is “designed to honor a player who has made significant improvement over the previous season or seasons.” (The 2022 ballot papers have not yet been released.) What is often analyzed is the player’s increase in scoring and production. Most likely this is a result of moving from the bench to the starting lineup and/or relying on this player after losing a high product.

Most Improved Jackie Young Nomination

Las Vegas ace guard Jackie Young is widely seen as the lead nominee for this award, and the first draft of Notre Dame was selected in 2019. It has definitely improved.

The 16 ppg is up 31% from 12.2 ppg in 2021 playing about the same number of minutes. Her score per game averaged 1.07 places in the league’s 94th percentile, up from 0.99 and 84 percent in 2020, According to her collar stats. The most obvious change was the 3-point percentage, which jumped from 25% (5 of 20) to 43.6% (41 of 94). This is the third best clip in the league.

But that’s the part about using that statistic. It’s largely because Becky Hammon, a coach who drives speed and emphasizes space, has taken charge of Bill Laimbere, who is way below anyone willing to shoot with a triple. This is the part about the “most improved” – it can pretty much fall out of players’ hands and into the conditions.

Jackie Young’s Player of the Year nomination may have been heavily influenced by new coach Becky Hammon’s playing style. (Zach Bollinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sabrina Ionescu for…the return of a player?

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu is the other main contender and her candidacy opens an interesting ripple. One presents a category that should at least be added to the agenda in the coming years, if not replace the most improved together.

“[Most Improved Player] It is not intended to be awarded to a player who has “come back,” as stated on the ballot, and this designation may fall under the name Ionescu. The first pick in the 2020 Draft played three games in her rookie year and She was still dealing with a second year ankle recovery. So technically back though most would attribute it to going out for the year or part of it before that.

The 17.5 ppg is up 49% from 11.8 ppg in 2021 and again in about the same minutes. she You get to a better clip overall, out of 3 at the free throw line. Her bounces (7.1) increased by 25% (5.7 to 7.1) as did her steals nearly double (0.6 to 1.16).

What Ionescu does all over the stats sheet is rare even if the sample size is small. She’s the only player to have averaged at least 10 points, six rebounds and six assists over the course of his career (14.8/6.3/6.1), according to schedule data. 15 players averaged 10/3/3 and Only nine players Averaged at least 14/3/3.

WNBA players who have averaged 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists during their career.  (via timeline)

WNBA players who have averaged 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists during their career. (via timeline)

Ionescu joins Candace Parker (2016) as the only two players to have scored 500 points, 200 rebounds and 150 assists in a single season in WNBA history, per ESPN. It currently stands at 541/220/199, up from 352/171/183 last year. This is definitely an improvement too. Often the hit is against her “but that’s what we expected from Sabrina”, which seems totally unfair to put that on a player.

Alternatively, if we want to keep the “most improved” (because it will probably never go away), we should add the return prize. Unfortunately, there are a lot of notable injuries – Paige Bueckers’ An anterior cruciate ligament tear is an unfortunate reminder – that polls can easily support each season. Players may be further honored for their growth.

New York Liberty protector Sabrina Ionescu (20) brings the ball onto the field during the WNBA game between New York Liberty and Chicago Sky on July 29, 2022, at Winterst Arena in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Melissa Tams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New York Liberty defender Sabrina Ionescu would be an excellent candidate for the MVP award in the comeback if she exists. (Melissa Tams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

WNBA Awards Schedule

The League announced Friday when the end-of-season awards will be announced, including for “out of place” All-WNBA teams. The first and second teams will be voted on regardless of the player’s position, canceling the previous formula of two goalkeepers, attackers and one position.

August 15: Peak artists

August 19: Kim Biro Sportsmanship Award

August 22: Executive Director of the Year

August 25: Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team

August 26: general coach

August 29: Most improved player

September 1st: Sixth player of the year

September 2nd: Defensive Player of the Year and All-Defensive Team

September 7: Most Valuable Player

September 15: All-WNBA Team

play week

Las Vegas Aces and Chelsea Gray give a whole new meaning to Sunday scares.

This help from Gabe Williams was also sloppy.

And you know we love a good party.

check the Angle of the bottom of the basket.

what you missed

  • that was quick. Alyssa Thomas from Connecticut Sun Hey 3rd player to have multiple triples in the history of the WNBA. She joins Sabrina Ionescu and Candice Parker, who both finished third this season. Cheryl Swoops has had two. For those still counting, there have been 18 Triple Threats in WNBA history and seven so far this season.

  • WNBA Neighborhood News: UConn star Paige Bueckers will miss the entire 2022-23 college season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee that continued to play junior basketball. The Bakers have worked through injuries nearly all of their Husky career and Remains eligible to enter the 2023 WNBA Draft If she chooses. But this timetable can now be postponed.

  • In an expected, but still painful, decision, Britney Greiner was found guilty of drug charges in a Russian court on Thursday. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. The ruling is largely a formality as negotiations over a prisoner exchange remain the most likely way to bring her home.

  • Players all over the league It was a supportive reaction to his teammate and friend. The first game of the night was held in Connecticut with Griner’s Mercury in the city. They held 42 seconds of emotional solidarity The players wiped their tears as they headed to the field for information.

interval picture

Five teams are present, but no locations have yet been closed. And only one is eliminated. It will be a battle in the final week of the season (and yes, we know we’ve been saying that for weeks).

The top five teams have played playoffs in the WNBA games running through August 4th.  (screenshot,

The top five teams have played playoffs in the WNBA games running through August 4th. (screenshot,

The top spot became even more mixed when the Wings beat the Aces on Thursday night. There are three matches this weekend between the top five teams.

TV schedule


Sparks (12-19, #10 in standings) at Dream (13-18, #7), 7:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports – The Sparks is one game behind Dream and they can capitalize on this win. Los Angeles still had to play the Mystics once and Sun twice to advance to the playoffs.

Mystics (20-12, No. 5) at Sky (23-8, No. 1), 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV – Team Sky leads the standings in one match and holds a challenging final stretch with Sun, Storm, Aces and Mercury. They are 2-1 against the Sufis.


Fever (5-28, eliminated) in the wings (15-16, #6), 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV – The wingers have defeated every team above them in the standings at least once after beating aces on Thursday night. Their winning streak has seen them take sixth place, the highest they can snatch away.

Liberty (13-18, #7) at Mercury (13-19, #9), 10 p.m. ET on NBA TV – Liberty is two games from the sixth seed, but more importantly is just one run ahead of ninth-placed Mercury. Phoenix scratches his place.


Sunday (22-10, No. 3) on Sky (23-8, No. 1), 1 p.m. ET on ABC – The Sun took care of Mercury on Thursday night while the Wings gave them some help. Now all 1.5 games behind the sky. Connecticut lost the three to Chicago.

Sparks (12-19, #10) at Mystics (20-12, #5), 3 p.m. ET on ESPN3 – The Sparks is a complete off-court game and is in a losing slither of five games. Only the fever (15 in a row) is now worse.

Aces (22-10, No. 2) in Storm (20-12, No. 4), 3 p.m. ET on ABC – It’s the regular season finale of Sue Bird in Seattle and national broadcast in the city for a crowd of over 18,000 fans. They have been split between the two games so far and will meet again at the end of the season on August 14.

Dream (13-18, #8) at Lynx (12-20, #11), 7 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime – This weekend’s final could be a big break in the final. The Dream tries to hold on to it while Lynx frantically tries to climb again from 1.5 games.