The 2018 WNBA season is officially underway. An impressive list of rookies have made their debuts and several have already shown that they are ready for the next level. Here are the top five rookies after the first week of games.
1. A’ja Wilson – Center – Las Vegas Aces
The No.1 overall pick has been making an immediate impact for the newly-relocated Las Vegas Aces this season. Through two games, the Aces (0-2) are still trying to find their stride, but head coach Bill Laimbeer hasn’t been shy in his usage of his prized rookie. The South Carolina product is averaging 15.0 points, and 9.0 rebounds, while her 31.5 MPG ranks her in 12th in the league, showing that the opportunity to put her imprint on each game will be there for Wilson.
2. Kelsey Mitchell – Guard – Indiana Fever
Mitchell has started the 2018 campaign looking comfortable on the floor, finding her spots on the offensive end. In three games with the Fever, Mitchell is averaging 13.7 points per contest. Like Wilson, it appears that Mitchell, a three-time Big 10 Player of the Year, will have the ability to get her reps and play a major part in Indiana’s offense, a role she is very accustomed to.
3. Diamond DeShields – Guard – Chicago Sky
DeShields had a year of professional ball under her belt going into the 2018 WNBA Draft after playing overseas in Turkey after two seasons at Tennessee, so perhaps the common fan didn’t quite know what to expect from the 6-foot-1 guard. Playing alongside some of the league’s most consistent and professional players in Stefanie Dolson and Allie Quigley, DeShields could become a consistent option from the wing. In her debut with the Sky, she went for 18 points and eight rebounds, while adding three assists.
4. Kia Nurse – Guard – New York Liberty
The Liberty have only played one game so far in the 2018 season, which is a reason Nurse isn’t higher on this list. In Nurse’s debut, she tallied 17 points on 50 percent shooting. She also logged 29 minutes, showing that new head coach Katie Smith is willing to lean on the former UConn standout. It will be interesting to see if she can keep up these efforts in these next few games to follow, which would show us the offensive consistency that the Liberty would benefit greatly from this season.
5. Azurá Stevens – Forward/Center – Dallas Wings
While she’s yet to produce anything extraordinary, the former UConn star has been steady, averaging 5.7 points in 18 minutes during her first three games. An unfortunate hamstring injury to her frontcourt mate, Glory Johnson, could open up some additional opportunities for her. At 6-foot-6, Stevens has the tools to be a unique player for Dallas, a team that boasts one of the league’s most physically imposing frontcourts.