WNBA ROY Ladder: Onyenwere Stands Alone


Another week of WNBA basketball has passed, which means it’s time to check in on the rookies. This week saw a few breakout performances, some high-end matchups, and some changes in the rankings. Only one person remained in their previous position, and the gap is even bigger than it was last week.

1. Michaela Onyenwere, F, New York Liberty

Season averages: 23.9 min, 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, 44/44/89 shooting splits

Team record: 5-2

Last week’s ranking: 1

Onyenwere continues to thrive in New York’s pace-and-space offense, and is running away with Rookie of the Year through two weeks. Her strong start carried over this week. In two games, she averaged 17 points on 50/46.7/100 shooting splits. She set a new career high with 29 points and six three-pointers made against Atlanta.

Onyenwere is the only rookie averaging double-digit points. She leads rookies in minutes per game, and is second in +/- of rookies with at least 50 minutes played. She has been making the most of the opportunities given to her, and has emerged as a key part of the upstart Liberty.

2. DiJonai Carrington, G, Connecticut Sun

Season averages: 11 minutes, 3.0 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, 44/20/50 shooting splits

Team record: 6-2

Last week’s ranking: 4

DiJonai Carrington’s case for second place is an interesting one. Her stats aren’t anything special, and her shooting splits are not great. That said, the eye test and advanced stats show her true value to the Sun.

Carrington just continues to find ways to impact the team. This week, she posted her first double-digit scoring game, and hit a clutch, game-tying lay-up against the defending champs. The Sun have been the best team in the league, so to see a rookie having a legitimate impact on the team says a lot about her. Carrington is second among rookies with 50+ minutes played in net rating, and she leads the Sun bench players in that category as well.

3. Charli Collier, C, Dallas Wings

Season averages: 14.0 minutes, 5.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, 50/0/50 shooting splits

Team record: 1-4

Last week’s ranking: 2

The start to Charli Collier’s WNBA career continues to be a bit of a head-scratcher. The number one pick was expected to play a big role for the Wings from the jump, but has seen her role change on a game-to-game basis. When asked about Collier’s minutes fluctuation, coach Vickie Johnson explained that she is utilizing Collier based on matchups to start. Collier is currently on pace to average the second-fewest minutes per game by a number one pick in WNBA history.

That said, Collier remains in a great position to be in the Rookie of the Year race. Her limited opportunities are still ample compared to other rookies, and she’s been fairly productive when on the court. Johnson expressed her belief in Collier, and seems committed to helping her improve. For now, it’s just a waiting game to see if Collier can make a push for the top spot.

4. Aari McDonald, G, Atlanta Dream

Season averages: 12.3 minutes, 4.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.0 blocks, 27/23/78 shooting splits

Team record: 3-2

Last week’s ranking: unranked

The new addition to this list, Aari McDonald had a big week. She averaged seven points per game, and added two rebounds and just over two assists. In the Dream’s first game this week, she posted nine points and five assists in 17 minutes. She followed that up with another nine point, four rebound outing. Atlanta’s backcourt is very crowded, even more so with the return of Tiffany Hayes, but McDonald is making her case for Mike Petersen to give her more minutes. She is a rookie to keep an eye on going forward.

5. Stephanie Watts, G, Chicago Sky

Season averages: 14.0 minutes, 2.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 21/10/75

Team record: 2-4

Last week’s ranking: 3

Stephanie Watts continues to get minutes for a depleted Sky team. She is still struggling offensively, but continues to play feisty defense and be active in her minutes. The shooting splits are brutal, although she did shoot a bit better (33% FG) this week. She’s one of the better rookie rebounders, despite her size. Her defensive activity is noticeable, as she comes up with quite a few deflections each game. As the Sky work towards fully healthy, she will likely see her minutes drop, unless her offense kicks into gear. Until then, James Wade is set on giving her minutes, which will keep her here for at least one more week.

About Richmond Bailey Caldwell

Die-hard Grizzlies fan since 2009. Aspiring basketball writer and coach. University of Georgia sport management alum. Perennial first team all-defense selection.

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com