Leadership in Challenging Times
The Storm has played since mid-July without 2003 and 2007 WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson. Despite the absence of the team's leading scorer and rebounder, the Storm has gone 7-4. Bird has stepped into a leading role in place of her teammate and good friend, averaging 17.5 points and 3.6 assists per game while improving her shooting percentages to 49.3 percent from the field and 38.6 percent on three-pointers. Bird has scored 20-plus points six times in the 11 games.
Making a Difference
Statistically, Bird has been the WNBA's biggest difference-maker this season. Her +20.7 net plus-minus rating (through Sept. 7 courtesy Paul Swanson of the Minnesota Lynx) is tops in the WNBA. Net plus-minus measures the difference between how a team plays with a player on the floor as compared to when she is on the bench. Fortunately, Bird hasn't spent much time on the pine. She is first in the WNBA in total minutes and second in the league in minutes per game.
At 21-11, the Storm has the WNBA's second-best record. The 21 wins and 15 home victories are both franchise records.
A Passion for Helping Others
Bird's average of 5.3 assists per game ranks second in the WNBA. Previously, she led the league in assists in 2005. Prior to having to take on more of a scoring load in Jackson's absence, Bird was averaging a league-leading 6.1 assists per game.
Truly an Outsider
With 47 three-pointers, Bird ranks 14th in the WNBA. Since the start of July, she has made 40.0 percent of her attempts from downtown, averaging nearly two per game.
RIGHT TO VOTE!
At the request of Head Coach Brian Agler, Bird has taken a more aggressive approach on offense this season. Her scoring average of 14.5 points per game is the best of her career, and Bird has topped the 20-point mark a career-high eight times after doing so eight times the last three seasons combined. Bird ranks second amongst point guards in scoring. She has attempted 85 free throws, more than three times her 2007 total and her most since her rookie 2002 season. At the line, Bird has made 87.1 percent of her attempts to rank 10th in the WNBA.
A Patriot with International Experience
During her second trip to the Olympics, Bird started at point guard for the gold-medal-winning United States National Team, earning her second gold medal. Bird is also a two-time champion of the Euroleague and the Russian Superleague in addition to her two NCAA Championships and a WNBA championship with the Storm in 2004.
"If you ask me, and I may be a little biased, Sue Bird is hands down the MVP of this league." - Storm Head Coach Brian Agler
"She's playing how she was in her UConn and her rookie year days where she's just playing free and aggressive and fearless. I love watching her play. I hate playing against her now. But I absolutely love watching her play." - Sacramento Head Coach Jenny Boucek
"That's how good of a player she is - she's one of the few players in this league that can go the whole game without taking a shot and affect the game more than anyone else. That's why she's the best point guard in the league, hands down."
- Phoenix forward Diana Taurasi
Storm's Sue Bird in MVP discussion - Jayda Evans, Seattle Times
"With Bird, her ascension to MVP candidate was an unfortunate circumstance. Jackson, the team's leading scorer (20.2) and rebounder (7.0), announced she'd miss five WNBA games to prepare with her Australian national team for the Olympics and then had minor right ankle surgery Thursday. Most figured the Storm season was lost. Enter Bird ... ."
Kissing babies and shaking hands on the campaign trail.
Aaron Last/Storm Photos
Storm's Sue Bird playing MVP basketball with little rest - Steve Kelley, Seattle Times
"She has had roughly two weeks off in the past 22 months and yet, instead of breaking down, instead of looking as if playing another game of basketball is the worst option in her life, Bird is thriving."
Storm's Bird, Sun's Whalen top MVP candidates - Vin Cherwoo, Associated Press
"Consider this: Bird has averaged 17.5 points in 11 games since Jackson - the team's leading scorer and rebounder - left to join the Australian Olympic team in mid-July. Bird was averaging 12.9 points before that, and while Jackson is out for the rest of the season following surgery on her right ankle, the Storm are 7-4 without her and entered the final weekend 1 1/2 games behind first-place San Antonio in the Western Conference."
Bird Shows Off Her Versatility in Jackson's Absence - Q, Rethinking Basketball Blog
"(Bird and Whalen) usually seem to have complete control over the action, choosing their opportunities wisely and making the best decision for their team’s success. They are combo guards in the truest sense of the term – they are versatile enough to adjust their style to play the role of either facilitator or scorer depending on what their team needs."
The Reluctant MVP Candidate - Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com
"Bird has come up big for the Storm during the fourth quarters of several close games. Last Thursday in Chicago, she outscored the Sky all by herself during the Storm's comeback, putting up 13 fourth-quarter points on 5-of-5 shooting, including three three-pointers."
Why Sue Bird is My MVP - Dick Fain, StormTracker
"Sue Bird should be the WNBA MVP for a very simple reason. She does more to help her team WIN than any other player in the league. There are other players that have better athleticism, there are more spectacular numbers to be found, but no one can adapt to her team's needs the way Sue does."