The early returns for the WNBA All-Star Game voting were announced on Tuesday. Here’s how the “3 to See” fared:
Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky) – 16,761 votes (1st overall)
Delle Donne outplayed Griner right off the bat with 22 points and eight rebounds in the Sky’s opening game win over the Mercury and she has gone on to be as high as No. 2 in WNBA.com’s “Race to the MVP” at one point during Week 3:
“Delle Donne’s meteoric run in the WNBA this season is too tough to ignore. She is not only emerging as one of the league’s best perimeter shooters, but also one of the best clutch ones, helping the Chicago Sky remain as one of the top teams in the league. Most importantly, she makes players around her better. With star scorer Epiphanny Prince out for the next few weeks due to obligations for the Eurobasket Tournament, Delle Donne has comfortably taken over leadership for the team. While it may be difficult for a rookie to rack up MVP honors, don’t let her inexperience fool you. She is the real deal.”
– Aman Ali, WNBA.com
She came from a small school in college, but so far Elena has done better adjusting to the pros than Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins, who have five Final Four trips between them. And Delaware head coach Tina Martin was happy that she could brag on Twitter during Delle Donne’s opener:
The WNBA will learn what the CAA already knows a team better give help on EDD or it is lights out for the opponents….double/triple team:)?
— Tina Martin (@UDCoachMartin) May 27, 2013
Elena has been the best rookie version of herself that experts could have envisioned her being. Just as expected, she has been able to score from anywhere on the floor as a 6-5 guard/forward combo. She is averaging 18.8 points per game making her the fourth leading scorer in the WNBA behind only Diana Taurasi and Angel McCoughtry – who account for the past five scoring titles – and reigning MVP Tina Charles. Not bad for a rookie.
We see a little bit of the “3 to See” effect with Delle Donne leading the voting because you could argue there are some other players who deserve more votes than her. However, we knew that if any of the “3 to See” played this well that they would instantly become a favorite among WNBA fans.
And the fact that Delle Donne beat out Griner does show that fans paid attention to what happened on the court. Griner received more attention in college than Delle Donne did and Elena didn’t even make the tournament until her last two years at Delaware. Delle Donne ended up with a lot of media attention by the end of her collegiate career for sure, but there is no way she gets more votes than someone as famous as Griner unless she plays the way she has this year.
Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) – 10,620 votes (6th overall, 4th in West, 3rd among Western Conference frontcourt players)
Griner sits behind only Candace Parker and Maya Moore in the voting for the Western Conference frontcourt. Parker is first with 15,623 votes and Moore is second with 15,128. Parker, Moore and Griner are the three most hyped No. 1 overall picks in recent memory – the three players who have been expected to completely change the game. Well all three may live up to the hype – certainly Parker did by winning MVP as a rookie, and 2013 looks like it may end up being the year Moore takes her game to a similar level. Griner is the one with the smallest sampling size, but she is having a solid season with an average of about 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Nice to see that people haven’t stuffed the ballot box for the Baylor star – five deserving players have more votes than her including her teammate Diana Taurasi. Third place among the Western Conference frontcourt is not too far off from where Griner should be, but Glory Johnson, one of only three players currently averaging a double-double (17 and 11) certainly should be ahead of her, and you could make a case for DeWanna Bonner (17 and 7) as well.
Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock) – 7,764 votes (11th overall, 6th in West, 3rd among Western Conference backcourt players)
Diggins has held her own as a starter in this league as rookie, but right now she is the furthest of the “3 to See” from being a superstar. She’s averaging 8.5 points per game and is sixth in the WNBA with 4.9 assists per game. She definitely seems like she is the kind of person who can become be a mainstay near the top of the assists category in her prime and we know from her college days that she can score as well. But for now, the four Western Conference players ahead of her in assists deserve some recognition.
One is Diana Taurasi and she did get the recognition (12,625 votes to lead Western Conference backcourt players) and rightfully so. But the other three, Danielle Robinson, Lindsey Harding and Lindsay Whalen, did not. Whalen (5.2 apg) came in fourth out of the West’s guards, Harding (5.3 apg) came in sixth and Robinson (6.8 apg) came in eighth. And all three are averaging more than 12 points per game so they are ahead of Diggins in that category as well. That’s where you see the “3 to See” effect in full force.