Who Are My Leading MVP Candidates This Season?
By Cristhian Plasencia
With the WNBA regular season rapidly coming to a close, it is time to examine the contenders for the league’s most prestigious individual award. Although you could make a case for a dozen or so players, here are my top five MVP candidates.
5. Candace Parker, Sparks
Although she is in her 11th season, Parker has shown no signs of slowing down, averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game. She recently went over the 5,000-point, 2,500-rebound mark for her career and stands 19th in WNBA history for points scored.
With Parker leading the way, the Sparks have an 18-12 record and will be a tough out in the postseason.
So why is Parker No. 5 on my list? Despite all that she does, Parker gets a lot of support from her All-Star teammates Chelsea Gray and Nneka Ogwumike.
4. Sylvia Fowles, Lynx
The defending champions got off to a slow start this season, but just like the play of the reigning MVP, they are clicking on all cylinders these past few games.
Fowles has been her normal dominant self, posting a statline of 16.8 points and career highs in rebounds (11.9) and assists (2.1).
Minnesota’s record is currently 17-13.
3. Elena Delle Donne, Mystics
The Washington Mystics rely most of their stock value on Delle Donne when it comes to their post players. She averages 7.2 rebounds per game and the All-Star captain also leads her squad in scoring with an average of 21.0 points per game, shooting at 48.6 percent.
Parker and Delle Donne can easily interchange spots on this list, but Washington’s lack of help around her gives Delle Donne an edge.
2. Liz Cambage, Wings
Cambage had the signature moment of the WNBA season when she hung a record 53 points on the Liberty last month. In the month of July, she averaged 25 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The Dallas Wings’ center embodies the evolution of bigs - playing off the wing and having the ability to stretch the floor.
Unfortunately, Dallas currently finds themselves on a six-game losing streak. Cambage has been lights out in terms of scoring and rebounding, but her impact on players around her can be questionable, when she’s the main player taking over, instead of getting her teammates involved.
1. Breanna Stewart, Storm
It’s debatable having either Stewart or Cambage as the No. 1 candidate for MVP, but it’s difficult not to give it to Stewart, especially after helping the Storm clinch the first playoff berth.
The forward averages 22.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Storm, who are a league-best 23-8. She dictates the tempo and helps Sue Bird get shooters into spaces by her movement off the ball. Stewart, more than any other player, has shown consistency night in night out.
If Seattle clinches the top seed, it will probably seal the deal for Stewart as MVP. The storm will host the Wings on Aug. 19 for a regular-season finale and a matchup between the two leading MVP candidates.