NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2020 – Los Angeles Sparks forward/center Candace Parker has been named the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced today. This is the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Parker, who is in her 13th WNBA season.
Parker received 16 votes from a national panel of 47 sportswriters and broadcasters. Seattle Storm forward Alysha Clark finished in second place with 11 votes and Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas finished in third place with 10 votes. The other players to receive votes were Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner (four votes), Storm forward Breanna Stewart (three votes), Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier (two) and 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard of the Storm (one).
In the 2020 regular season, Parker averaged a WNBA-high 8.0 defensive rebounds, 1.23 blocked shots (eighth in the WNBA) and 1.18 steals in 22 games. She was one of five players to average at least one block and one steal per game, joining Collier, Stewart, Turner and 2020 WNBA Most Valuable Player A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces. Parker grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game nine times.
Behind Parker, the Sparks ranked third in the WNBA in defensive rating, allowing 98.8 points allowed per 100 possessions. The 6-4 Parker helped Los Angeles hold opponents to 31.3 points per game in the paint, the second fewest in the WNBA.
Parker’s defensive prowess was part of a season in which she averaged 14.7 points, a WNBA-leading 9.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 51.0 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three-point range. A two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker finished in third place for the 2020 WNBA MVP Award. With Parker excelling at both ends of the court, the Sparks posted the WNBA’s third-best record at 15-7.
In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Parker will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results for the 2020 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients.
2020 WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
Player Team Votes
Candace Parker Los Angeles Sparks 16
Alysha Clark Seattle Storm 11
Alyssa Thomas Connecticut Sun 10
Brianna Turner Phoenix Mercury 4
Breanna Stewart Seattle Storm 3
Napheesa Collier Minnesota Lynx 2
Natasha Howard Seattle Storm 1
WNBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
Year Player Team
2020 Candace Parker Los Angeles Sparks
2019 Natasha Howard Seattle Storm
2018 Alana Beard Los Angeles Sparks
2017 Alana Beard Los Angeles Sparks
2016 Sylvia Fowles Minnesota Lynx
2015 Brittney Griner Phoenix Mercury
2014 Brittney Griner Phoenix Mercury
2013 Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky
2012 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2011 Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky
2010 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2009 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2008 Lisa Leslie Los Angeles Sparks
2007 Lauren Jackson Seattle Storm
2006 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2005 Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever
2004 Lisa Leslie Los Angeles Sparks
2003 Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets
2002 Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets
2001 Debbie Black Miami Sol
2000 Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets
1999 Yolanda Griffith Sacramento Monarchs
1998 Teresa Weatherspoon New York Liberty
1997 Teresa Weatherspoon New York Liberty