2009 WNBA.com GM Survey Predicts Los Angeles Sparks Will Win Third WNBA Title

-- GMs Select Sparks� Lisa Leslie to Win MVP in Her Final Season --

NEW YORK, June 3, 2009 - In the Seventh Annual WNBA.com GM Survey, WNBA general managers predict the Los Angeles Sparks will win their third WNBA title and that center Lisa Leslie will win a league-record fourth MVP. Complete survey results are posted on WNBA.com in advance of opening day, Sat., June 6, when the Los Angeles Sparks host the Detroit Shock on ABC at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The exclusive survey, which provides fans with a look into the minds of WNBA decision-makers, also revealed that 36 percent of GMs selected Candace Parker as the player they would sign if they were starting a franchise.

Overall, the Sparks received 42 percent of the GMs� votes to win the 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 the Minnesota Lynx� Seimone Augustus and Indiana Fever�s Tamika Catchings (8 percent), who tied for third.

Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry, the number one overall selection in the 2009 WNBA Draft, and the Mystics� Marissa Coleman, the number two selection, tied with 27 percent of the votes to win Rookie of the Year honors this season. In addition to being projected by many GMs as the likely winner of the top rookie award, McCoughtry was also voted as the rookie that will be the best player five years from now, earning 36 percent of the votes.

Storm guard Sue Bird earned 58 percent of the votes as best point guard for the second year in a row. The Sparks� Leslie (58 percent) was voted the best center, while 50 percent of GMs believe that the Shock�s Deanna Nolan is the best shooting guard. Catchings (23 percent) and the Sparks� Tina Thompson (36 percent) were voted the top small forward and power forward, respectively.

Seattle's Jackson was the clear favorite in the best international player category, receiving 92 percent of the votes.

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)

Click here to see the complete results of the 2009 WNBA.com GM Survey