Ballot Breakdown: Forwards
June 7 -- Balloting for WNBA All-Star 2006 is under way. To give you a better idea of the top voting options, WNBA.com will break down each position -- guard, forward and center.
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the forwards from both conferences, ranked statistically by their PRA (the sum total of their points, rebounding and assist averages). Read about Lauren, Sheryl and Taj, then cast your vote and help select the starters for the 2006 All-Star Game in New York City on July 12. (Note: All statistics are through games played on June 6.)
This Aussie has been awesome this season.
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Lauren Jackson, Storm
Averages: 22.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.0 APG; PRA -- 31.8
Breakdown: It should be no surprise that one of the league's most versatile players is putting up stellar numbers across the board. Jackson is fourth in scoring (22.5 ppg), fourth in field goal percentage (.576), 11th in free throw percentage (.903) and first -- yes, first -- in three-point percentage (.692). She's leading the league in efficiency (25.8) and she's third in the league in total blocks. Amazing.
Sheryl Swoopes, Comets
Averages: 15.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.0 APG; PRA -- 26.2
Breakdown: She's an MVP, top vote getter for All-Star games and a champion. What hasn't Sheryl Swoopes done in the WNBA? How about average 6.5 rebounds per game in a season. Swoopes, in her ninth WNBA season, is on pace to set a career high in boards. All that, and she's fifth in the W in minutes played (200.0). Her outstanding all-around play has helped the Comets to a 5-2 record, best in the West. Each day, she adds to her incredible legacy.
Tina Thompson, Comets
Averages: 16.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.9 APG; PRA -- 22.9
Breakdown: Here's the second half of Houston's awe-inspiring forward duo. Thompson is even more tireless than her counterpart, as TT has led the league in minutes played (226.0). Thompson also leads the league in made three-pointers (14) and is 10th in three-point percentage (.467). Thompson is eighth in the league in scoring.
Sophia Young, Silver Stars
Averages: 11.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.2 APG; PRA -- 22.3
Breakdown: For a rookie to rank, statistically, among the greatest players in the WNBA and at its most loaded position is quite an accomplishment, even after a mere six games. Young has made her mark on the boards, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game, good for fourth in the W. She's not too shabby on the offensive end either, averaging 11.3 ppg. Her three double-doubles ranks second in the league.
Nicole Powell, Monarchs
Averages: 13.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.5 APG; PRA -- 20.0
Breakdown: Powell is a deadly shooter. Just check these digits: 14 three-pointers made, .452 three-point percentage, 13.7 points per game. The 14 treys lead the league while the three-point percentage and the scoring average are career bests for her. Powell, one of the keys to the Monarchs' championship run last season, has proven to be no one-shot wonder.
Tamika Catchings, Fever
Averages: 14.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.0 APG; PRA -- 26.7
Breakdown: She's played in only four of the Fever's seven games, but it's tough to deny that Catchings may be the most versatile player in the league. No player does so many things so well. Get to the line? Check. She's fifth in the WNBA in free throw attempts with 32. Defense? Check. She pilfers at a 2.8 steals per game pace. Hustle? Her 9.5 boards per would be fourth if she had played enough games to qualify.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Sun
Averages: 11.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.5 APG; PRA -- 22.0
Breakdown: An All-Star last season after putting up career-best numbers, McWilliams-Franklin merits consideration once again in 2006. There may not be a veteran with more hunger to win a championship and she continues to play that way. She leads her team in rebounding and is third in scoring, which is even more impressive when you realize that all five of the Sun's starters could be All-Stars and that Connecticut has the best record in the WNBA yet again.
Nykesha Sales, Sun
Averages: 15.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.0 APG; PRA -- 25.4
Breakdown: While guard Lindsay Whalen is the Sun's engine, Sales is Connecticut's cornerstone. Solid in every aspect of the game, Sales' 15.8 points per game, good for 10th in the league, is a tick under her career high of 16.1 in 2003. In addition to pouring in points, Sales' 4.0 dimes per game places her sixth in the league. And on the other end, Sales takes care of business with 1.8 steals per game.
Tamika Whitmore, Fever
Averages: 17.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.7 APG; PRA -- 24.4
Breakdown: Whatever Whitmore is doing, she should bottle it and sell it. What a turnaround. After watching her scoring production dip into the single digits the past three seasons, Whitmore is averaging an astonishing 17.7 points per game. That's good for seventh in the W and five points better than Whitmore's previous career high. She's also averaging career highs in boards (5.0 rpg), assists (1.7) and steals (1.67).
Swin Cash, Shock
Averages: 11.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.2 APG; PRA -- 20.2
Breakdown: While she doesn't need to introduce herself like Johnny Cash (no relation): "Hello. I'm Swin Cash," Cash (Swin, not Johnny) said before the season she feels like she hasn't played since 2004. She appeared in 21 games last season and averaged a meager 5.7 points per game. This season, Cash is back on track with 11.7 points per game and 6.3 boards per.