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
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.)
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
Now here are the player rankings for the season through June 11.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Week's Rank: 5
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.
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.
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.
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.
the Outside Looking In (season averages - last week's rank)
Last week, Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph University courageously took the floor for her first college game, refusing to let an inoperable brain tumor keep her from achieving her dream – and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings were on hand to lend their support.