One of the leading storylines for the 2018 WNBA season has been the impressive play from the rookie class. Led by No.1 pick A’ja Wilson, the large majority of the first-round picks have been integral parts to their respective teams early in the season.
A’ja Wilson – Las Vegas Aces:
Wilson (21.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG) not only looks like a prime Rookie of the Year candidate, but also one of the league’s best young players as she leads rookies in scoring and rebounds per game.
Kia Nurse – New York Liberty:
Nurse comes from Geno Auriemma’s family tree at UConn and seems to be another former Husky that will be a valuable contributor in the WNBA beyond 2018. She is coming off a rookie franchise-record 34-point performance against the Indiana Fever over the weekend, and is averaging 19.0 PPG which ranks second among rookies and eighth in the league.
Kelsey Mitchell – Indiana Fever:
Some players come along that can just flat out score the ball. Kelsey Mitchell is one of these players. After a slow preseason where the second overall pick shot just 18.8% from the field, Mitchell seems to be finding her rhythm. Averaging 18.3 PPG (44.3% FG), Mitchell’s breakout game came Saturday against the Liberty where she notched a career-high 26 points.
Diamond DeShields – Chicago Sky:
Coming off a year playing professionally in Turkey after leaving the NCAA in 2017, DeShields showcasing the skills that made her the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft. A lengthy wing option to fit beautifully in the Sky offense around Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, and Stefanie Dolson, DeShields is showing her versatility on the offensive side of the ball. She is coming off a career-high 25 points Sunday against Wilson and the Aces, and is averaging 15.3 PPG.
Ariel Atkins – Washington Mystics:
A name that may have not jumped off the page after the 2018 WNBA Draft was completed, Atkins has been solid so far for a surprisingly good Mystics (5-3) team this season. Atkins, a 5-foot-11 guard from Texas is averaging 12.5 PPG but also is a pest on defense as she has notched a steal in all but one of the Mystics first eight games this year.
Jordin Canada – Seattle Storm:
The seemingly heir-apparent to WNBA legend Sue Bird, Canada looks to be the perfect fit to take the reigns at point guard whenever the future Hall of Famer decides to hang her shoes up. The stats are not tell-your-friends worthy (6.9 PPG, 3.6 APG), but she leads the rookie class in assists per game. The hustle she exudes on both sides of the ball jumps out at you when watching a Storm game, something that is surely being noticed by league All-Stars and teammates Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and of course Ms. Bird.
Gabby Williams – Chicago Sky:
A hardworking forward for the Sky, Williams is averaging 6.5 points per game, while logging 25.8 minutes per game. Williams has recorded at least five rebounds in three of six games this year.
Myisha Hines-Allen – Washington Mystics:
The Mystics have a couple promising looking rookies. Hines-Allen joins fellow rook Ariel Atkins as another productive player on both ends of the ball. At 6-foot-2, she brings length on defense, and makes it difficult for defenders to deal with her on the offensive side of the court, averaging 6.6 points per game.
Azurá Stevens – Dallas Wings:
A promising young rookie from the powerhouse UConn program, Stevens is posting 6.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in only 18 minutes of action. The 6-foot-6 forward scored in double figures for the first time on May 29, and contributed to a win against the Storm in her last performance with seven points and five boards.