WNBA Player Rankings: Week 13

SECAUCUS, N.J., August 14, 2007 -- On Monday I walked into my daily morning meeting and was blindsided worse than when the Redskins' Joe Theismann had his leg broken and his career ended by the Giants' Lawrence Taylor in 1985.

“How can you have Becky Hammon ranked fourth when she is going to win the MVP?” said one person in the conference room.

Another nameless coworker was quick to agree.

“Look at how many games the Silver Stars won a year ago and look at how many they’ve won this season. That is all because of Becky.”

Naturally, this made me go on the defensive against Hammon despite the fact that I think she is a very strong contender to claim the league’s most prestigious individual award.

It reminded me of the time in 12th grade when after cutting school to show that I wasn’t a nerd, I got busted by my father who by chance decided to have lunch at the same diner as me and my boys. I didn’t really want to do it, but I had a point to prove.

Immediately, my thoughts turned to how San Antonio is an impressive 4-1 when Hammon doesn't play because of injury.

I compared that to Lauren Jackson, who currently occupies the No. 1 spot in the player rankings. LJ recently missed Seattle’s game against Minnesota to visit her grandmother, who died Friday, in Australia. Without her, the Storm went out and got whacked by 21 points by the team with the league’s worst record. For the season, Seattle is 0-3 when its star doesn't suit up.

I gave Hammon her props for leading the league in assists, being second in free-throw percentage and third in scoring, but that paled in comparison to Jackson, who is the statistical leader in five categories and is third in another.

I started thinking that Hammon supporters would point to the fact that there is no way Jackson can be the MVP of the league when her team is struggling around the .500 mark. If history is an indication of how the voting may turn out, that may not be the case. Jackson was named MVP in 2003, even though the Storm, who finished the season with an 18-16 record, failed to make the postseason.

While I don’t believe Hammon will win the award over Jackson, I do believe there is a strong possibility that she may finish second (though the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi could stand in her way).

Line of the Week
Deanna Nolan (Shock)
August 11 win vs. Fever
26 points, 10 rebounds

Since being traded from the Liberty on draft day, Hammon has enjoyed a career season. The Silver Stars have already won six more games than they did a year ago and have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since moving to San Antonio.

Currently, the Silver Stars are just a game behind the Mercury for the best record in the West. As tight as the conference standings are, there is a possibility that the official MVP vote could end up being even closer.

Now here are the player rankings for the season through August 13.

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  • Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings

    1. Lauren Jackson, Seattle
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    23.8 9.5 1.3 0.9 2.0 .525 .879
  • Last Week's Rank - 1
    Jackson is first in the WNBA in points, rebounds, blocks, efficiency and double-doubles and she is third in field-goal percentage and fifth in free-throw percentage.

  • 2. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.0 4.1 4.3 1.2 1.0 .434 .836
  • Last Week's Rank - 3
    In the Mercury's last three games - all victories - Taurasi has handed out 19 assists, including dropping eight dimes three days ago against the Sparks.

  • 3. Becky Hammon, San Antonio
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    19.2 2.7 5.2 0.9 0.2 .454 .948
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    Hammon came up clutch with the game on the line in the Silver Stars' win over the Comets, draining three free throws in the final 11 seconds on Saturday.

  • 4. Deanna Nolan, Detroit
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    16.6 4.3 4.0 1.4 0.4 .464 .836
  • Last Week's Rank - 2
    Nolan has been on a tear in her last three games, exploding for 18, 26 and 19 points for the Shock, who had their six-game winning streak snapped on Sunday.

  • 5. Katie Douglas, Connecticut
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    17.3 4.6 3.8 2.0 0.3 .443 .786
  • Last Week's Rank - 5
    After scoring in double digits in 13 straight games, Douglas has finally cooled off. She scored just a total of 16 points in her last two games for the Sun, who went 1-1.

  • 6. Penny Taylor, Phoenix
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.1 6.3 2.9 1.6 0.6 .508 .881
  • Last Week's Rank - 7
    If Taurasi falls short in her bid to be named MVP, it will probably have a lot to do with the outstanding play of Taylor. The two stars will split a lot of the votes.

  • 7. Sophia Young, San Antonio
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    16.8 6.1 1.4 1.4 0.3 .480 .762
  • Last Week's Rank - 6
    Young, who has scored at least 11 points in 17 straight games, has started all 30 contests this season for the Silver Stars.

  • 8. Alana Beard, Washington
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.5 4.2 3.0 2.0 0.7 .411 .836
  • Last Week's Rank - 8
    Beard, who is one of the most versatile players in the league, is fifth in points and third in steals per game.

  • 9. Asjha Jones, Connecticut
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    15.5 6.0 2.6 0.9 0.8 .458 .767
  • Last Week's Rank - 9
    Despite her impressive scoring average, it is hard to believe that Jones has made only one 3-pointer (12 attempts) this season.

  • 10. Rebekkah Brunson, Sacramento
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    11.0 8.9 0.8 1.4 0.8 .463 .684
  • Last Week's Rank - Unranked
    Brunson, who is currently ranked third in rebounds, has pulled down double digit boards in six straight games.
  • On the Outside Looking In (season averages - last week's rank)
    11. Candice Dupree (Chicago): 17.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.4 APG - (10)
    12. Lindsay Whalen (Connecticut): 12.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.1 APG - (13)
    13. Tina Thompson (Houston): 18.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.0 APG - (15)
    14. Tamika Catchings (Indiana): 16.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.7 APG - (12)
    15. Katie Smith (Detroit): 13.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.8 APG - (14)

  • Dropped out: Nicole Powell (Sacramento).
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