Can Fever Have 2 MVP Candidates?
For the second time, fans can have a say in who receives the WNBA MVP award. Fan balloting will account for 1 of 42 votes toward the naming of the league’s Most Valuable Player, as selected by league-wide media. Visit WNBA.com/mvpvote to cast your ballot daily.
By Marissa Johnson | September 14, 2012
It is rare to find a player that can lead on both ends of the floor. The Indiana Fever has two.
Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings are both 2012 MVP candidates and deserve every ounce of credit and consideration they may receive.
Exhibiting her talents on both ends of the floor, Catchings is only one 3-point field goal from becoming just the second player in WNBA history with 500 career 3-pointers and 500 career steals.
The only other player to claim such extreme both-end-of-the-court numbers? Katie Douglas.
It is an unusual set of statistics. Some would even say the milestones are quite arbitrary. But that they are the only two players in WNBA history to reach them tells a little bit about the kind of players Douglas and Catchings are.
They do it all. Both ends of the court, offense and defense.
Catchings, the league’s reigning MVP, is leading her team in points per game (17.7), rebounds per game (7.4) and steals per game (2.21). She has finished in double figure scoring in all but one game this season. That is 29 games of consistency.
The leader of virtually every offensive and defensive record in Fever annals, Catchings is a four-time defensive player of the year and has been in the top three for MVP balloting six times in eleven seasons. She is a seven-time All-Star, nine-time All-WNBA honoree and a seven-time member of the All-Defense Team.
Douglas is the second-leading scorer in Fever history and is considered a “do-it all” guard. She normally spots up in the shooting guard position, but has played many minutes as the point guard as well. When games are on the line, it’s not been the least bit unusual to see her running the point.
This season she is averaging 16.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.52 steals per game.
Like Catchings, Douglas has been a consistent all-around player for Indiana. She has scored in double figures in all but five games this season.
Douglas is a four-time WNBA All-Star, four-time All-WNBA selection and five-time member of the All-Defense team.
Catchings and Douglas both came out of college in 2001 and together, they are making their mark on the WNBA record book. MVP awards certainly aren’t based upon longevity or career numbers – but what makes Catchings and Douglas so special in 2012 is that their 2012 numbers are in many ways better than their already astounding career averages.
Catchings is the reigning MVP. Her 2011 totals looked like this – 511 points (15.5), 233 rebounds (7.1), 67 steals, 115 assists, 32 3-point field goals and 143 free throws. Yet, with still four games to play in 2012, her current numbers look like this – 527 points (17.6), 228 (7.6), 65 steals, 95 assists, 46 3-point field goals and 127 free throws.
Douglas’ numbers are similarly on the rise. Her 16.4-point scoring average is the third-best of her career and she is two 3-point buckets shy of a new career high for a season. She leads the league in 3-pointers made (72) and is bidding to join Katie Smith and Diana Taurasi as the only players with 80 or more in one season. She only needs five more to break Catchings’ franchise mark of 76.
Is the MVP award a goal for either of them? Simply put, no. A WNBA title remains the goal of both players and the franchise they represent.
But are they worthy? In a word, yes. They are the heart and soul of a 20-10 team which has qualified for its eighth consecutive playoff berth. Catchings and Douglas both are prime candidates for the league’s 2012 MVP award.