WNBA Player Rankings:
The Most Improved Player of the Year Edition

If the season ended today, which player would you vote for as the WNBA's Most Improved Player of the Year?
If the season ended today, which player would you vote for as the WNBA's Most Improved Player of the Year?
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NEW YORK, August 21 -- Coaches love players who overachieve, who go beyond their presumed limits. They may not be superstars, but the people in charge love to recognize their extraordinary efforts nonetheless. Why else would there be a Most Improved Player award?

Some examples of this season’s postgame coach-speak?

“Whenever she’s called upon, she’s always ready.”

“She went in the game and went to work.”

"Night in and night out, she's a warrior for us."

“I’m just really pleased with the way she’s improved.”

In gauging how much a player has improved from one season to the next, you not only have to consider the current season’s advancements, but also the point from which she’s advancing.

And in this rundown of the completely unofficial top 10 in the Race to the MIP award, we deal with superstars and subs, scorers and passers, bigs and… ahem… Lyttles.

But the commonality among all 10 is that they’ve shown remarkable progress over previous seasons. And for that, they all deserve awards.

Now here are my Most Improved Player rankings for the 2008 season through the start of the Olympic break.

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  • Jia Perkins, Chicago Sky
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 16.5
    • 4.2
    • 3.0
    • 1.8
    • 0.3
    • .419
    • .392
    • .917
    • +15.7
    Coming off what many considered to be a breakout season in 2007, she has taken it up another notch in 2008. This rising star’s scoring average is up nearly 5 ppg over last year’s career high and she is also on track to set career highs in rebounding and steals per game.
    Shameka Christon, New York Liberty
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 16.4
    • 3.4
    • 1.6
    • 1.2
    • 0.6
    • .408
    • .401
    • .818
    • +12.8
    Christon has been a solid player for the last three-plus seasons in New York, but she has stepped it up this year, becoming a go-to scorer for the improved Liberty. Whether it’s from the outside or slashing to the hoop, Christon will play a major role in deciding how far New York goes in the postseason.
    Ebony Hoffman, Indiana Fever
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 10.3
    • 7.9
    • 1.9
    • 1.5
    • 0.9
    • .481
    • .455
    • .852
    • +15.4
    A solid role player for the Fever for the last four seasons, Hoffman took advantage of superstar Tamika Catchings’ absence earlier this season, got significant playing time and is well above her career averages across the board. Set a career high with 26 points on June 26 against the Liberty.
    Le'Coe Willingham, Phoenix Mercury
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 9.6
    • 6.4
    • 0.7
    • 0.6
    • 0.2
    • .553
    • .200
    • .767
    • +12.5
    Like Hoffman, Willingham was a solid sub off the bench in Connecticut for four years before an offseason trade to Phoenix. And with Penny Taylor staying in Australia this season, Willingham has gotten her chance to shine. And she has, fitting in seamlessly with the Mercury’s run-and-gun offense.
    Ivory Latta, Atlanta Dream
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 12.6
    • 2.3
    • 3.6
    • 1.4
    • 0.0
    • .377
    • .372
    • .817
    • +10.9
    Everyone knew that Latta was capable of much more than she did during her rookie season in Detroit. Well, everyone except Bill Laimbeer. But now that she’s one of the leaders of the young Dream squad, she has gotten more responsibility and more opportunity to shoot. And looking at her numbers, she has taken advantage of it.
    Sancho Lyttle, Houston Comets
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 8.2
    • 5.9
    • 1.0
    • 1.3
    • 1.0
    • .589
    • .000
    • .809
    • +13.5
    Hall of Fame forward Tina Thompson broke her finger in a win over San Antonio on June 24, but it didn’t break the Comets. Lyttle entered the lineup and proceeded to average 12.8 points and 9.1 rebounds a night in the 13 games leading into the Olympic break.
    Barbara Turner, Connecticut Sun
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 8.2
    • 3.2
    • 1.7
    • 0.5
    • 0.5
    • .394
    • .351
    • .753
    • +8.6
    What a pleasant surprise Turner, a former star at UConn, has been for the Sun since they picked her up in a preseason swap with Houston. She has shot well from the outside and has been a valuable player coming off the bench for the precocious Sun.
    Tiffany Jackson, New York Liberty
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 8.3
    • 5.7
    • 1.0
    • 1.0
    • 0.3
    • .516
    • .000
    • .630
    • +10.3
    This athletic, second-year forward has a solid rookie campaign but has gotten more playing time this year and is really taking advantage. Jackson has to be one of the quickest post players in the league and with more regular playing time, she could be putting up All-Star level numbers.
    Camille Little, Seattle Storm
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 6.1
    • 3.7
    • 0.8
    • 0.8
    • 0.5
    • .491
    • .389
    • .596
    • +7.0
    A highly touted prospect coming out of North Carolina with Latta (above), Little had a solid rookie campaign in San Antonio. But after heading to Atlanta in a trade, she struggled early and was sent to Seattle for a draft pick. Starting five games for the Storm before the break, she impressed with her skill and versatility.
    Tanisha Wright, Seattle Storm
    • PPG
    • RPG
    • APG
    • SPG
    • BPG
    • FG%
    • 3P%
    • FT%
    • EFF
    • 7.0
    • 2.9
    • 2.1
    • 0.9
    • 0.2
    • .459
    • .222
    • .786
    • +7.7
    Another solid player posting career highs in nearly every category, Wright has been a solid backup to Olympian Sue Bird for three-plus seasons. But every time she gets an opportunity for more playing time, she takes advantage. She’s posted 11 double-digit-scoring games so far this year.

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    Video

    Postgame: Chicago Sky

    Sky head coach Pokey Chatman and Sylvia Fowles talk postgame following Chicago's double overtime win over the Fever.

    Fever vs. Sky - Game 2

    Sylvia Fowles scores 27 points and the Chicago Sky beat the Indiana Fever 86-84 in two overtimes to even the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals on Monday.

    Postgame: Indiana Fever

    Fever head coach Lin Dunn and Tamika Catchings talk postgame after Indiana falls to the Chicago Sky in Game 2 in double overtime.

    Catchings in the Clutch

    Tamika Catchings nails the clutch jumper to put the Fever up by two late in regulation.

    Young Forces OT

    Tamera Young makes the offensive rebound and puts it up and in to send the game into overtime.