Without a doubt, Elena Delle Donne is the front-runner for the 2015 WNBA season Most Valuable Player award after pouring on a spectacular show in the first month. We’ve also seen a handful of atheltes putting up sensational performances in the league.
1. Elena Delle Donne, Chicago Sky
Without a doubt, Delle Donne is the clear-cut front-runner for the 2015 Most Valuable Player distinction. The Sky forward is leading the league in scoring with 27.2 points/game — and it is not even close.
This included a 45-point explosion in a win over the Atlanta Dream earlier in June. She is also averaging 9.9 rebounds/game and a league-leading 2.3 blocks/game. At this rate, Delle Donne will shatter the regular season scoring record set by Diana Taurasi (860) in 2006.
The third-year player is virtually perfect from the free throw line as well, shooting a phenomenal 97 percent. With the absence of Sylvia Fowles in the interior, and Allie Quigley missing a few games, it was only inevitable for Delle Donne to have a huge chunk of the scoring load, and she is delivering tremendously.
She can hit anywhere from the floor and be effective with or without the ball. She can create her own shot and beat slower defenders off the dribble; with size and length, it takes her only a few strides to get to the rim. On top of it all, Delle Donne leads the WNBA in win shares this early with 3.9.
2. Skylar Diggins, Tulsa Shock
It is unfortunate to have Diggins’ season over after suffering an ACL tear. She was the Shock’s top scorer with 17.8 points/game, and also adds 2.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per contest. Her outside sniping (44.8 percent three-point field goals) and shot-creating ability (29.8 percent assist rate) will also be missed as far as space is concerned. More than anything else, her on-court leadership is tough to replace. We wish her a speedy recovery.
3. Tina Charles, New York Liberty
Charles is one of the best in the business when it comes to a back-to-basket game, and it is helping the Liberty on offense as she attracts so much defense, creating openings for her other team. She is averaging 15.1 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists per game and in her last two outings, Charles went 21-10-5, showing how dangerous she is when operating from the low block.
4. Emma Meesseman, Washington Mystics
Arguably the biggest revelation of the season, Meesseman has taken the league by storm. We did expect her to have a big year, but she elevated her game to the all-star ranks. She is the Mystics’ leading scorer with 14.9 points/game, and no. 2 in rebounding with 7/game.
With so much finesse in her face-up game, an ability to hit from the perimeter and put down the leather, she becomes hard to stop from about 15 feet away from the hoop. We will write in detail how she and Delle Donne thrives well in the era of stretch fours.
5. Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx
The reigning season MVP struggled early with hitting her outside shots, but the impact she brought to the Lynx in the first month, is a constant reminder why she is the best player on the squad, averaging 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.7 steals per contest. Against the Mercury, Moore shot 4-for-5 from long range, an indication Moore is starting to regain the rhythm she is known for.
6. Alex Bentley, Connecticut Sun
Bentley’s shift from a playmaker to a dynamic two-way combo-guard has been an integral part of the Sun’s early success in the 2015 season. With a penchant for draining shots off ball screens or taking it strong to the hoop, Bentley has become one of the deadliest shot-creators in the league.
On defense, she is also quick enough to stop the other teams’ backcourt players, making her one of the best guards in the league right now. She averages 17.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals per match for the Sun.
7. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream
It is hard to count McCoughtry out of the race, as she has — for the last few years — carried the Dream on her back with the effort she exerts every game. This season is no different for McCoughtry, who norms 20.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists to lead the Dream. She ‘s hard to stop one-on-one and draws a handful of fouls (6.1 FT attempts/game), while also creating baskets for her teammates.
8. DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury
Bonner did not have much of a choice at the start of the season when the Mercury had three of their 2014 starters sidelined. Bonner took a huge portion of the scoring load, averaging 18 points/game while also getting to the free throw line several times (7.1 FT attempts/game) with her driving game.
Aside from scoring, she averages 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest, keeping the defending champions in the middle of the Western Conference standings.
9. Kelsey Bone, Connecticut Sun
It is hard to count out what Bone has done for the Eastern Conference-leading Sun. She put up 15.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and a team-best 2.3 assists per match in the first month, while shooting 57.8 percent overall. She has given the Sun an excellent option off the pick and roll, and can also find open teammates should a double-team come. Overall, Bone is an essential reason why the Sun have been on top early in the year.
10 – 4 players tied
There were many athletes to choose from for the 10th spot, but we would rather give credit to everyone who have played tremendously well for their respective squads. Here are a handful of second- or third-best players in the top teams that have also given impact.
Plenette Pierson is averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per match for the Shock, shooting 36.8 percent from deep. She finished with 19 or more points in 4 games for Tulsa, providing them with an extra offensive weapon and her veteran leadership has also helped off the court.
Without Janel McCarville, Lynx big Rebbekah Brunson had to double her effort, and she is delivering well inside the paint. Playing above 30 minutes/game, Brunson is averaging 11.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists and is shooting above 50 percent from the field.
Having quite a resurgence, Cappie Pondexter is the Sky’s second-best scorer with 16.3 points/game, and is shooting slightly better from beyond the arc at 30 percent compared to 27 percent last year.
Lindsay Whalen opened the season for the Lynx with a pair of 20-point games, picking up the load while the rest of Minnesota was struggling. She is averaging 13.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.
This July, watch out for…
Nneka Ogwumike, Brittney Griner, Jantel Lavender, Kayla McBride