Aces

2022 WNBA MVP Power Rankings Week 13: A’ja Wilson Cements MVP Status

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The 2022 WNBA playoffs meet at the corner of now and next week. League play has reached preheated conditions. Six teams clinched playoff spots, while five are vying for the last two playoff positions—what a fun time to be a WNBA fan.

Although the WNBA MVP award will be announced on September 7, 2022, A’ja Wilson cemented the honor last week. She helped the Las Vegas Aces beat the Seattle Storm, besting Breanna Stewart for the second time this season. Additionally, the Aces are second in the WNBA standings, one game behind the Sky.

Wilson and Vegas play two playoff tune-up games this week against the Sky and the Storm. With two wins or two losses, the 2022 WNBA MVP belongs to Wilson. She has proven, beyond a doubt, that she is the best player in the league this season.

May as well peek at the evolution of Wilson in a span of five seasons. It provides more evidence for MVP status if any more evidence is necessary.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Travel back to 2018 when Las Vegas debuted as the newest WNBA city. Wilson went number one in the draft and was unanimously selected as the WNBA Rookie of the Year. And she played in the All-Star game as the only rookie on the roster. (This sounds a lot like Rhyne Howard‘s current path, as an aside.).

Although the Aces missed the playoffs, finishing ninth, Wilson led her team in points (20.7 PPG), rebounds (8.0 RPG), and blocks (1.7). Her numbers: third in the WNBA in scoring, sixth in rebounds, and sixth in blocked shots while shooting 46.2% from the field. Chalk that up as a majestic rookie season.

SOPHOMORE SEASON

Transitioning to year two for any athlete involves growing pains and inconsistency. Wilson’s second season saw the Aces finish fourth in the league. The team made the semifinals and lost to the eventual champion Washington Mystics.

Again she led her team in points (16.5 PPG) and blocks (1.7 BPG). Wilson was seventh league-wide in scoring, 18th in rebounding (6.4 RPG), and fourth in blocks as her shooting percentage improved to 47.9%. As a WNBA All-Star, she helped her team improve from 14-20 in 2018 to 21-13 in 2019—quite a sophomore feat.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Maybe 2020 is best forgotten for many reasons, minus Wilson as MVP. In the season known as the Wubble, she led her team to a first-place finish in league standings, but the Aces lost to the Storm in the finals. Her averages were a delightful 20.5 points (2nd), 8.5 rebounds (7th), 2.0 blocks (1st), and a career-high 48% shooting percentage.

Are you sensing a pattern here? Wilson evolves her game yearly, and the Aces increase their winning ways. An elite player in an elite setting equals an elite team.

HEARTBREAK PART TWO

What appeared to be the year for an Aces championship ended in heartbreak. Las Vegas finished the season second in the league at 24-8 but lost to the Mercury in the semifinals in game five. Wilson had a solid season, not her best in any category.

However, her stat line bests most of the players in the WNBA. She averaged 18.3 points (6th), grabbed 9.3 boards (8th), and swatted away 1.3 shots (11th).

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER 2.0

Will this MVP season produce a championship to add to all the other hardware? Wilson has career-bests in field goal percentage at 50.1%, three-point shooting at 38.5% (sweet shooting from beyond the arc), and boards at 9.5. The Aces have the second-best league record and won the Commissioner’s Cup.

If none of these numbers resonate, turn on a device and watch Las Vegas’ two remaining games. Bare witness to the future of G.O.A.T. stature. Drop the mic next to Wilson’s 2022 WNBA trophy as the championship is next on the hardware list.

About Sharon Ostrom

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