Wings

Allisha Gray Overlooked for All-Star: Was She snubbed?

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Referees aren’t the only officials robbing WNBA stars of success this season.

The WNBA’s biggest stars just played in the 2022 All-Star Game in Chicago, and Wings fans were treated to a spectacular performance from star guard Arike Ogunbowale. Wings fans were excited to see Ogunbowale receive the recognition that she deserves and shine on the biggest stage. However, they understandably expressed disappointment at Allisha Gray’s snub. But how strong was Gray’s case in the first place?

All-Star Caliber Season

Many argue that Allisha Gray deserved to play in this year’s All-Star Game, but how valid is this argument? Gray averages 14/5/2 this season, along with 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks. Across the entire league, she ranks:

  • 20th in PPG
  • 8th in 3P%
  • 9th in total 3-pointers
  • 4th in offensive rating
  • 7th in offensive win shares
  • 10th in total win shares
  • 19th in total blocks
  • 20th in blocks per game
  • 15th in effective FG%
  • 15th in true shooting %
  • 18th in PER

According to ESPN, her 43% 3-point shooting is second-best in the league among players shooting at least 3 threes a game. That’s 12 categories in which she ranks in the top 20 in the league, and wouldn’t one know it, there’s 22 All-Stars. She’s undoubtedly the second-best player on the Wings and a crucial part of their success this season – ranking tenth in the league in win shares.

Additionally, Dallas’s offensive rating is a startling 14.3 points better when she’s on the court, and the team’s net rating drops by 15.3 points when she’s on the bench, the best such impact of anyone on the team. She’s a key reason why the Wings are staying afloat.

But is she outperforming anyone who made the All-Star team? The stats say yes. She’s averaging more points, assists, and steals than reigning Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, who made the reserve pool. She’s also averaging more points, rebounds, and steals than Courtney Vandersloot. Gray has a strong case for making the team over either one of these two Sky guards. However, voters didn’t seem to think so, and Gray ended up ranking 30th in fan voting totals.

The Talent on Display

Gray has also had some great performances this year. She dropped 18 points and seven rebounds on the Storm and led the Wings to the win on June 3rd.

She also notched 24 points & nine rebounds against the Aces on June 5th, including 15 points in the first half.

She recorded her first double-double of the season against the Sparks on June 19th with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.

Other notable performances include her 21 points versus the Mystics on May 13th and 20 points versus the Storm on June 12th.

Was Gray Wronged?

With all of these astonishing stats, it’s easy to see why many thought the WNBA robbed Gray of her first All-Star appearance. A principal reason is the Wings’ subpar performance this season, though that isn’t in any part due to lack of trying from Gray. The Wings are 10-12 and sit tied at sixth in the standings, while many of this year’s All-Stars play for teams with much better records, like the Sky and Sun.

Team performance tends to have a strong influence on individual awards, so it’s not surprising that the Wings’ record had something to do with Gray’s exclusion. Plus, the All-Star Game is just entertainment, so fans may have preferred a flashier, more popular young rookie like Rhyne Howard over a more consistent player like Gray.

Every player on this year’s All-Star Game rosters has a strong case for inclusion, and there aren’t any players who made the team despite playing significantly worse than Gray. All of these talented women deserve to call themselves All-Star level talents, but so does Gold Medal Lish.

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About Meera Murali

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