CATCHINGS IS WNBAS TOP SMALL FORWARD ACCORDING TO WNBA GENERAL MANAGERS

In the seventh annual WNBA.com GM Survey, WNBA general managers have selected the Indiana Fever’s Tamika Catchings among top candidates to win the league’s Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year Awards. She also was tabbed as the league’s best player at her position.

Catchings, a perennial MVP candidate who has finished among the top three in balloting for the award in four of her seven active pro seasons, was tied for third among candidates for this year’s MVP award. The Defensive Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006, Catchings tied with reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Lisa Leslie, among candidates to earn the award in 2009.

Complete survey results will be posted on WNBA.com in advance of the league’s opening day, Sat., June 6.

The exclusive survey, which provides fans with a look into the minds of WNBA decision-makers, revealed the Los Angeles Sparks as the GMs’ favorite to win the 2009 WNBA Finals. The defending champion Detroit Shock finished tied for second with the San Antonio Silver Stars, each receiving 17 percent of the votes.

Leslie received 42 percent of the GMs’ votes to earn MVP honors. Other candidates chosen as likely to compete for the MVP included the Seattle Storm’s Lauren Jackson (17 percent), who finished second, and Catchings and the Minnesota Lynx’ Seimone Augustus (8 percent), who tied for third.

Catchings and Leslie each received 25 percent of votes to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors. Catchings also received 23 percent of the vote while being selected the top small forward in the league.

Additional leaders in the WNBA.com GM Survey include:

  • Detroit Shock -- Eastern Conference champions (67 percent)
  • Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Shock -- best head coach (50 percent)
  • Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever; Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks – defensive player of the year (25 percent)
  • Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury -- player you would want taking the shot with the game on the line (64 percent)
  • Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock -- most athletic player (73 percent)
  • Tina Thompson, Los Angeles Sparks -- acquisition that will make biggest impact in 2009 (50 percent)
  • Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky -- player most likely to have a breakout season (27 percent)