2011 WNBA.com GM Survey Predicts Seattle Storm Will Win Second Consecutive Title

Lauren Jackson, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi are top considerations in the 2011 GM Survey
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NEW YORK � June 1, 2011 � The results of the ninth annual WNBA.com GM Survey are in, with team general managers weighing in with their predictions for the 2011 season. While 58 percent of GMs selected the defending champion Seattle Storm as the team most likely to win the WNBA Finals (the New York Liberty finished second with 17 percent of the votes), it was the Phoenix Mercury that GMs picked for the second straight year as the team most fun to watch (66 percent).

The Minnesota Lynx, who added guard Maya Moore and forward Amber Harris with the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks, respectively, in the recent WNBA Draft, as well as veteran center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, were selected as the most improved team (50 percent).

The complete results of the exclusive survey, in which all 12 GMs participated, are posted on WNBA.com in advance of opening day, Friday, June 3, when the Los Angeles Sparks host the Minnesota Lynx on NBA TV, and Saturday, June 4, when the Storm and reigning MVP Lauren Jackson host the Phoenix Mercury 2009 MVP, Diana Taurasi, in a nationally-televised game on ABC.

While the GMs had Mercury guard-forward Taurasi and New York Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter tied atop the list of players they would want taking a shot with the game on the line (each with 27 percent of the vote), it was Taurasi (with 33 percent of votes) who bested Seattle�s Jackson and Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry (17 percent each) as the favorite to win the MVP award. Taurasi also received the most votes (50 percent) as the player who forces coaches to make the most adjustments.

The Lynx� Maya Moore received four significant honors. Not only was she voted as the player GMs would sign first if starting a franchise today (33 percent), ahead of Taurasi and Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker (each with 17 percent of votes), she also edged out guard Katie Smith, whom Seattle added via a trade with Washington, as the acquisition who will make biggest impact in 2011 (33 percent to 25 percent).

Not surprisingly, Moore also was the overwhelming favorite to earn Rookie of the Year accolades � receiving 83 percent of the votes � and the rookie who GMs anticipate will become the best player five years from now, with 58 percent of the votes.

For the fourth consecutive year, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird earned the most votes (92 percent) as the best point guard. And while the GMs named Taurasi the best shooting guard (66 percent) and the Indiana Fever�s Tamika Catchings (50 percent) the best small forward for the third straight year, it was symbolic of Lauren Jackson�s versatility that she was selected as both the best center (50 percent) and top power forward (45 percent).

Additional leaders in the WNBA.com GM survey included:

  • Brian Agler � best head coach (50 percent)
  • Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever � defensive player of the year (66 percent)
  • Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever � player with the greatest hunger to win a championship (50 percent)
  • Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream and Cappie Pondexter, New York Liberty � most athletic player (25 percent each)
  • Sue Bird, Seattle Storm � the player best at making her teammates better (50 percent).
  • Minnesota Lynx � team that made the best off-season player personnel moves (72 percent)
  • Seattle Storm � team with the best home court advantage (91 percent)