WNBA

Jones’ MVP Campaign Years in Making

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Jonquel Jones has always seemed to be a little underappreciated. Jones was drafted from George Washington to the Sparks, and was traded that same night to the Connecticut Sun. She has improved every year, racking up awards and accolades in the process, but still isn’t really put in the conversation of the best players in the world.

Jones has become possibly the most versatile and unguardable player in the league. Traditional centers will struggle to defend her on the perimeter, while smaller forwards can’t defend her one on one either. Jones can dominate in the post and pass out of double teams. She can grab the rebound and go coast to coast or just pull up for an easy three ball. The method doesn’t matter – she’ll destroy a defense no matter what.

From Most Improved…

In Jones’ 2016 rookie campaign, she averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds as a backup center. Not many people were sure of how good she could be, but you could see talent. The next season she became the starter and put her full skill set on display. She made her first All-Star game and broke the record for the most rebounds in a season with 403. On top of that, she won the Most Improved Player Award.

In 2018, Jones moved to the bench and won the Sixth Woman of the Year Award. Again, no matter what role Jones filled, she made the most of it and racked up awards in the process. She is a unique talent thanks to her impressive set of skills at 6’6″. Anyone who watches her for the first time is amazed at the way she moves, handles and shoots the ball.

To The Finals…

Jones returned to the starting lineup in 2019, earning another All-Star appearance. She led the league in rebounds for the second time in her career, and was also the blocks leader. Her averages for the 2019 season were 14.6 points, 9.7 and 2.0 blocks per game, good enough earn a spot on the All-WNBA Defensive First Team and All-WNBA Second Team (for the second time).

That year, Jones led her team to the second seed and the WNBA finals. In that series, she pushed her averaged to 17.9 points and 10.4 rebounds. She scored 32 points and recorded 18 rebounds in game two. Her nine offensive rebounds in that game are a WNBA record that still stands. While the Sun lost in a deciding game 5 to the Mystics, Jones showed the world just how truly talented she is. However, she didn’t play in the Wubble in 2020 – and it seems that some fans forgot how great she is because of it.

To MVP (frontrunner)

When the 2021 season started, most people didn’t have high expectations for the Sun. Jones must’ve sensed that. She also knew she would shoulder a heavy workload with star teammate Alyssa Thomas being out for the season. Despite the obstacles, Jones has done that and way more. She’s ranked second in the league in scoring with 21.0 points, first in rebounding with 11.1, eighth in field goal percentage at 54%, and sixth in three point percentage at 43%.

Jones has further displayed her ability to score and handle from everywhere, and is one of the best shooters in the league. She showcased her shooting touch during the Three-Point Shootout during the All-Star Game, where she came in second. Jones even missed some games to play for Bosnia-Herzegovina in Eurobasket and absolutely dominated. Before the Olympic break, it seemed she was the runaway for MVP. If Jones can close out the season the way she started it, she will take home one of the very few awards that has evaded her so far.

Chasing Accolades

Every year, Jones has shown why she deserves recognition, praise, and respect from fans, the media and the WNBA. This year is no different – it’s just becoming more apparent to the rest of the world. She is one of the best players in the world, and there is no doubt about that. If she takes home the MVP this season, there will be only one thing missing from her stacked resume: a ring.

Jones has a chance this season to win the MVP and the WNBA Finals. If she does that, there’s no more downplaying her greatness. She’s possesses a greater resume than most other players, and she should be treated as such. It’s time to give Jonquel Jones her flowers, and the respect that she deserves.

About Tariq McDowell

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