WNBA Player Rankings: Week 9

NEW YORK, July 17 -- Time to open up the Race to the MVP Mailbag. I'll grade each of your e-mails for coherence, accuracy, originality… and probably even grammar and spelling. So without further ado, away we go…

Tipping things off, Marcus from Cusseta, Ga., writes the following:

I believe that the WNBA's MVP thus far has been none other than Tina Thompson. She has been in this league since the inaugural season and has yet to win a MVP award which to me is very upsetting. She is the league's second all-time leading and continuously raises her stat line night in and night out and has the Comets in a position to be a major playoff contender. Tina Thompson has been my favorite WNBA player for the past 10 years and her love of the game has only gotten stronger.

Three trophies
Tina is having a remarkable season at age 33, and while it's a shame that the league's second all-time leading scorer hasn't won an MVP, it doesn't make up for the fact that there are several worthy candidates above her. (Oh, and just cuz she's your favorite means she should be MVP? C'mon. If that were the case, Huey Lewis & the News would have enough Grammys to fill a swimming pool.)

Next up, Jass from Highland Park, N.J., suggests:

Race for the MVP? Forget your picks. Cappie Pondexter is my vote.

One trophy
Showing some love for your former Scarlet Knight. I can respect that. And it's hard not to love Cappie. For my money, she's the most fun player in the league to watch and the WNBA's version of the human highlight film.

But telling me to forget my picks for a player I've had in the top 10 all season long? Come on, Jass. You're better than that.

Estee, a big WNBA fan from Buffalo sent this one in:

Becky is MVP the silver stars would be nowhere without her.

If the season ended today, which player would you vote for as the WNBA's Most Valuable Player?
If the season ended today, which player would you vote for as the WNBA's Most Valuable Player?
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Two trophies
OK, Estee. OK. Short and sweet is your recipe. And I'll bite. Becky is coming on strong of late and your point may be true, but it leaves a little too much to the imagination: Imagine the Silver Stars fly into Sacramento to play the Monarchs. If the team's bus driver calls in sick that day, wouldn't the Silver Stars be nowhere without him or her?

Hearty congratulations go out to Lauren from Bloomington, Minn., the winner of this week's five-trophy e-mail award:

Thanks again for having Lindsay Whalen in the top 5 of the MVP voting!! Even though she doesn't score 30 points a game or have the best stats, without her, the Sun probably would be towards the bottom of the league. She does a lot more for the team than just scoring, rebounding, and assisting. She's a great floor leader and keeps everyone calm. I think she should be higher than Lauren Jackson or people like her because even without her, her team still has a good chance to win with the other stars on the team. :)

Five trophies
Starting off by thanking me? Excellent. Coherent points throughout? Superb. Smiley face at the end? I can't ask for much more.

The final e-mail comes from DJ in L.A. who writes:

I truely have to question your basketball knowledge. I am a true male fan of this sport, not just a Sparks fan. I've been a fan from day 1 of the WNBA. I watch as many game as I can catch on NBATV. Candace Parker is the best player to ever come into this league to date and that includes Lauren, Lisa, Sheryl, etc. Her numbers speak for themself. At this point right now, she is clearly the MVP/ROY. She leads her team in points, rebounds, assist and shooting %. She is not only the best player on her team but the best all around player in the league. There is no other player in this league that can do as many things as Candace. If so, please name her? Then show me her numbers. Numbers don't lie.

Four trophies
Though lacking a bit in the coherence and spelling categories, the accuracy is right on… well, except for questioning my basketball knowledge.

DJ, numbers truely don't lie. And even though Candace hasn't played as many game in her career as Lauren, Lisa, Sheryl, etc., her numbers do speak for themself.

Now here are my player rankings for the season through July 16.

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  • Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 18.7
    • 9.5
    • 3.8
    • 1.6
    • 2.4
    • .505
    • .444
    • .713
    • +24.3
    • Last Week’s Rank - 2
    The Sparks are going through some minor struggles, but don’t blame this rookie. The ESPY winner is sixth in the league in scoring, first in rebounding, second in blocks, 11th in assists, eighth in field goal percentage, 11th in steals… Shall I go on?
    Lindsay Whalen, Connecticut Sun
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 15.7
    • 6.0
    • 5.5
    • 1.5
    • 0.1
    • .487
    • .354
    • .792
    • +20.1
    • Last Week’s Rank - 4
    Whalen is the personification of “value.” Though the Sun have lost four in a row, the gritty point guard is keeping them in every game with her scoring, her passing (she’s second in the league in assists) and her leadership. She’s having her best season as a pro.
    Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 20.2
    • 7.0
    • 1.2
    • 1.5
    • 1.6
    • .452
    • .295
    • .934
    • +20.7
    • Last Week’s Rank - 1
    Her numbers suggest she’s a solid candidate to earn her second consecutive MVP and the third of her storied career, but Jackson will miss the Storm’s next five games to train with the Australian national squad before heading over to Beijing for the Olympics.
    Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 18.5
    • 5.6
    • 2.7
    • 1.6
    • 0.5
    • .500
    • .000
    • .783
    • +18.9
    • Last Week’s Rank - 6
    This third-year forward is having undoubtedly her best professional campaign for the league leading Silver Stars. And with several of her talented teammates stepping up their games as well, don’t be surprised if the road to the Finals in the West goes through San Antonio.
    Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 23.6
    • 4.0
    • 3.8
    • 1.1
    • 1.0
    • .458
    • .373
    • .860
    • +21.3
    • Last Week’s Rank - 3
    Taurasi keeps shooting and Taurasi keeps scoring, but the Mercury keep losing. Though she’s clearly one of the top players in the league (OK, the world), a lot of her MVP candidacy depends on Phoenix’s win-loss record.
    Tina Thompson, Houston Comets
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 17.6
    • 7.3
    • 2.3
    • 0.9
    • 0.5
    • .416
    • .476
    • .839
    • +15.7
    • Last Week’s Rank - 7
    Thompson’s teammates in Houston are collectively stepping up their games – see Sancho Lyttle, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, Michelle Snow, Tamecka Dixon, et al. But Thompson is the straw that stirs the Comets' drink. If they’re able to sneak into the postseason, she’ll be a serious MVP possibility.
    Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 19.3
    • 3.9
    • 3.2
    • 1.2
    • 0.4
    • .500
    • .378
    • .871
    • +18.2
    • Last Week’s Rank - 8
    Like Thompson above, Augustus is the go-to player on a team with several up-and-coming youngsters. Candice Wiggins is having a terrific rookie season, but Augustus, a first-time Olympian, is scoring from inside and out and is the rock of Don Zierden’s youthful roster.
    Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 23.3
    • 4.2
    • 4.6
    • 1.0
    • 0.2
    • .426
    • .344
    • .818
    • +18.4
    • Last Week’s Rank - 9
    Like her Mercury teammate above, Pondexter’s numbers are ridiculously impressive. She’s second to Taurasi in scoring, eighth in assists and is at a career-high rate in rebounding as well. But Phoenix has to get back into the playoff hunt for either Cappie or Dee to get serious MVP consideration.
    Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 15.9
    • 9.3
    • 2.1
    • 1.5
    • 3.0
    • .476
    • .083
    • .697
    • +20.0
    • Last Week’s Rank - 5
    Don’t get me wrong, Leslie’s comeback after a season off is nothing short of staggering. And she’s making major contributions at both ends of the court. But it’s hard not to compare her numbers to Parker’s, and despite being second in rebounding and first in blocks, her numbers are not as good.
    Becky Hammon, San Antonio Silver Stars
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 17.0
    • 2.9
    • 4.7
    • 1.1
    • 0.3
    • .362
    • .331
    • .946
    • +14.1
    • Last Week’s Rank - 11
    It’s no surprise that the Silver Stars’ recent run of eight wins in nine games has corresponded with a major hot streak by last year’s MVP runner-up. And though her numbers aren’t as huge as last year, she’s still seventh in the league in assists and first in both free throw shooting and minutes played.

    On the Outside Looking In (season averages - last week's rank)
    11. Shameka Christon (New York): 17.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.5 apg (12)
    12. Sue Bird (Seattle): 13.0 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.9 rpg (NA)
    13. Katie Douglas (Indiana): 16.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.1 apg (14)
    14. Candice Dupree (Chicago): 16.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.6 bpg (NA)
    15. Asjha Jones (Connecticut): 16.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 apg (13)

  • Dropped out: Deanna Nolan (Detroit), Ann Wauters (San Antonio).
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