I originally started the WNBA MVP contenders series back in May & June but did not have time near the end of June & July to update the series due to a family wedding. Now that the regular season ends, it’s now come down to two main contenders. It’s either Breanna Stewart or A’ja Wilson. I’ve written below about why each player has their case for MVP and then wrote about who I pick as this year’s WNBA MVP. All stats are courtesy of Her Hoop Stats.
A’ja Wilson has started and played in all 34 WNBA games so far which is the best among the league. She’s fifth in the league in scoring with 19.6 points per game and second overall in rebounds with 9.5 rebounds per game. She’s first in blocks with 2.0 per game. Per 40 minutes, her stats are even better as she is top four in almost all major categories. She’s second in points per 40 minutes at 26.4, FG made per 40 minutes at 9.8. Per 40 minutes, she’s sixth in the league at total rebounds at 12.8. Her PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is 28.4 which is second in the league. Both her offensive rating and defensive rating are within top 15 in the league. The best part of all of this is that her win shares are 6.7 which is second in the league.
All of her numbers shown above is that she’s an elite player who has sprung onto becoming a serious contender for this award. Her team, under new head coach Becky Hammon are currently second in the league with a record of 24-10. She’s added a three point shot to her game and she’s shooting 38.5% FG from it. It shows the continuous growth from her game and her ability to become even more of an young superstar.
Breanna Stewart has played in and started 32 games this season. She’s currently averaging 22.0 points per game which is first in the league. She’s tenth in total rebounds per game at 7.3 rebounds per game. She’s third in steals per game at 1.7 steals per game. Per 40 minutes, she’s first in points at 28.6. She’s second in FG made per 40 minutes at 9.7. She’s second in free throws attempted per 40 minutes at 7.7 and first in free throws made at 6.5. In steals per 40 minutes, she’s ninth at 2.1 steals. Her PER is 29.5 which is first in the league. Her offensive rating and defensive rating are top 10 within the league. Her win shares are 7.9 and she’s first in offensive win shares at 5.7 and second in defensive win shares at 2.2.
The numbers shown above show Breanna Stewart’s been having an excellent season and putting up similar numbers compared to her MVP season in 2018. Her team has needed her and she has responded, especially since this is Sue Bird’s final season. It shows that Stewart is one of the top three best players in the league due to her play as well as her consistency in terms of putting these high numbers in almost every season.
PREDICTION: Who wins this year’s WNBA MVP?
Answer: This is tough. Both Stewart and Wilson have put up elite numbers and both are among the best players in the league. Both are top 10 in almost all of the major categories and both are on top 4 WNBA teams in the league. Both have some great teammates as well. Both will be teammates on the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup next month in Sydney, Australia.
My answer is Breanna Stewart. The Storm would not be the same team without Stewart. They’d be a top 8 team and just trying to make the playoffs. She’s what separates the Seattle Storm from being an elite team compared to a team just scraping by. The Aces still would be a top 6 team without A’ja Wilson. Her team mates in Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum are some of the best elite guards in the WNBA. Dearica Hamby is one of the best players off the bench and can do well as a starter too. They would be where the Dallas Wings are. So in my opinion, the 2022 WNBA MVP should be Breanna Stewart.
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