WNBA Player Rankings: Week 4

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 12 -- A few words, please, about this Race to the MVP.

First off, this is simply my own personal ranking. Not that of the league. Not that of President Donna Orender. Not that of the statistical wizards who calculate the official player efficiency ratings.

Secondly, despite the importance of statistics in making this list on a weekly basis, the "V" in MVP stands for "valuable." So there's more to being the MVP than numbers. But how, then, do you measure value?

Well, there's a bit of personality, individual flair and subjectivity to it. A lot depends on how successful a player's team is. A lot depends on the talent surrounding a player on her team. And a lot depends on how said player performs in her team's big games.

Is it a science? Not even close. That's why it's an award that's voted upon.

Is it fair to say that the Oscar-winning movie each year is definitively the best film of the previous 12 months? Not likely. (Though I thought No Country for Old Men was fantastic. And believe me, there's more that goes into this list than a coin toss.)

Line of the Week
Candace Parker (Sparks)
June 6 loss to Mercury
19 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists

Was David Cook the clear-cut winner in American Idol this season? (I have absolutely no idea. I've never actually watched the show.)

Is there a definitive "best" candidate for whom to vote in November? (OK, another bad example.)

But hopefully you get my point: that this Race to the MVP requires a certain -- how do you say, je ne sais quoi -- feeling deep in one's gut that a star player deserves to be ranked where she is. At least until Paula Abdul tells me otherwise.

Now here are the player rankings for the season through June 11.

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  • Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings

    1. Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    18.8 4.5 3.9 1.4 0.6 .480 .385 .893 +19.0
  • Last Week's Rank: 1
    She played well despite the fact that the Lynx lost their first two games of the season: 22 pts., 6 reb., 6 ast. in Friday's loss in Connecticut, then 11 pts. and 10 ast. in Tuesday's loss at home. She's still the most dynamic player on the league's most exciting team so far, so she narrowly stays in the No. 1 spot.

  • 2. Lindsay Whalen, Connecticut Sun
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    15.3 6.0 6.2 1.1 0.0 .478 .321 .796 +20.0
  • Last Week's Rank: 4
    Whalen finishes a close second to Augustus this week, only because her scoring isn't quite on the same level. But she's already one of the league's premier point guards and she deserves serious consideration for this award given the impact she's had on the young, largely inexperienced, Eastern Conference-leading 8-1 Sun.

  • 3. Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    16.9 10.3 5.0 1.6 2.3 .464 .625 .639 +24.3
  • Last Week's Rank: 3
    Had another near triple-double last Friday against the Mercury and remains a dangerous player at both ends of the court. Her stats of late haven't been out-of-this-world impressive, but it's hard to argue with her impressive assist rate when you realize that the Sparks are 5-2.

  • 4. Katie Douglas, Indiana Fever
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    20.0 5.0 3.6 1.9 0.3 .398 .347 .825 +16.9
  • Last Week's Rank: 2
    Douglas still deserves to be near the top of this list, but two mediocre games in Fever losses this past week are the cause of her slip in the rankings. It will also be interesting to see how Douglas' offense is impacted by the expected return of All-Star teammate Tamika Catchings on Sunday.

  • 5. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    25.6 4.1 3.0 1.7 0.7 .456 .346 .804 +21.3
  • Last Week's Rank: 8
    No, the Mercury didn't win in Seattle Wednesday night, but Taurasi's 37 points was the highest single-game total so far this season. Without Penny Taylor in the mix for Phoenix, Corey Gaines' run-and-gun offense depends even more on this fifth-year superstar... and she's taking advantage of it. It's no surprise that as Taurasi has heated up, the Mercury have been more successful.

  • 6. Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    17.0 10.7 1.6 2.0 4.0 .453 .125 .786 +22.3
  • Last Week's Rank: 6
    Leslie is no longer the new kid on the block in L.A., but this supremely talented veteran is still the Sparks most solid, reliable player. She is behind only Parker in efficiency and leads the league in rebounds per game and blocks.

  • 7. Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    25.1 3.6 4.4 1.3 0.1 .432 .349 .786 +18.1
  • Last Week's Rank: 5
    This WNBA.com blogger is tops in the league in PRA ahead of the aforementioned Taurasi, Parker, Leslie, etc. And as is the case with Taurasi, more of the offense runs through Pondexter than ever. In fact, despite scoring a season-low 18 in Wednesday's setback in Seattle, she handed out a season-high-tying seven assists.

  • 8. Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    19.9 7.1 1.6 1.5 1.7 .453 .298 .932 +20.4
  • Last Week's Rank: 7
    Jackson posted her first double-double of the season against the Mercury on Wednesday and remains the go-to star on the much-improved Storm. Seattle has already played 10 games and LJ is second in the league in minutes played and leads the way in field goals made, points scored and efficiency points.

  • 9. Sophia Young, San Antonio Silver Stars
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    17.7 4.9 1.9 1.7 0.3 .540 .000 .769 +16.9
  • Last Week's Rank: 10
    Young tweaked her knee in a loss to Houston last week. The Silver Stars lost that game, and Young proceeded to play only 16 minutes in a win Friday over Washington. She sat out Sunday's loss at Minnesota, but she came back with a vengeance on Wednesday, putting up 17 and six in the big win over Indiana. As So goes, so go the Silver Stars.

  • 10. Candice Dupree, Chicago Sky
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% EFF
    16.0 7.7 1.7 0.7 1.7 .437 .000 .783 17.3
  • Last Week's Rank: NR
    Dupree is back in the top 10 after a very solid week in which she averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 boards and 2.0 blocks per game in two wins over the Dream. With rookie center Sylvia Fowles still on the shelf, she'll be depended upon for more scoring, rebounding and defense down low, so her stats should continue to rise.

  • On the Outside Looking In (season averages - last week's rank)
    11. Tina Thompson (Houston): 18.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.8 APG (11)
    12. Alana Beard (Washington): 19.2 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.6 RPG (9)
    13. Swin Cash (Seattle): 13.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.8 APG (NR)
    14. Candice Wiggins (Minnesota): 16.3 PPG, 3.9 APG, 2.8 RPG (NR)
    15. Deanna Nolan (Detroit): 13.5 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG (14)

  • Dropped out: Plenette Pierson (Detroit), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles), Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Washington).
  • More

    Video

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    Check out some of the best highlights from the thrilling, double overtime game between the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky through the eye of our super slow motion phantom camera!

    Fowles Leads Sky In Game 2

    Sylvia Fowles ended up with 27 points on an impressive 12-14 shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals to help the Chicago Sky tie the Eastern Conference Finals at 1 game apiece versus the Indiana Fever.

    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.