2022 WNBA Awards Predictions
Making preseason predictions on which players will walk away with winning the big end of season awards.
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The WNBA season tips off tomorrow and with that, it is time to unveil my award predictions. Who will be named the MVP? Who will be named Sixth Woman of the Year? Find out below!
Most Valuable Player: Elena Delle Donne
We start with the most prestigious award. My preseason prediction on who will win is Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics. Although she has only played three games in the past two seasons combined, early indications point to her being fully healthy this season. I think the Mystics will need her and she will respond nightly on an elite level. She will play to her standards as a two-time winner of the league’s top individual prize.
ALL-WNBA FIRST TEAM PREDICTIONS
Elena Delle Donne, F, Washington Mystics
Jonquel Jones, F Connecticut Sun
A’ja Wilson, F, Las Vegas Aces
Breanna Stewart, F, Seattle Storm
Kahleah Copper, G, Chicago Sky
ALL-WNBA SECOND TEAM PREDICTIONS
Courtney Vandersloot, G, Chicago Sky
Nneka Ogwumike, F, Los Angeles Sparks
Liz Cambage, C, Los Angeles Sparks
Skylar Diggins-Smith, G, Phoenix Mercury
Candace Parker, F, Chicago Sky
Defensive Player of the Year: Alyssa Thomas
Defense plays a key part in the WNBA, and it is often what separates the good teams from the bad teams. But what about players who can make their imprint defensively? Who can make opponents’ ability to score extremely difficult? I believe that Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun will take home Defensive Player of the Year honors this season. Thomas returns to the court healthy and ready to play after missing the bulk of last season due to injury. Thomas has the defensive ability to make a couple of steals, grab rebounds, and defend her opponents in the half-court. Thomas led the league in steals per game in 2020, which propelled her to third place in Defensive Player of the Year voting. She is also a three-time member of the WNBA All-Defensive Teams, earning such recognition in 2017, 2019, and 2020.
ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM PREDICTIONS
Alyssa Thomas, F, Connecticut Sun
Sylvia Fowles, C, Minnesota Lynx
Brittney Sykes, G, Los Angeles Sparks
Jonquel Jones, F, Connecticut Sun
Briann January, G, Seattle Storm
ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM PREDICTIONS
Brianna Turner, F, Phoenix Mercury
Breanna Stewart, F, Seattle Storm
Brittney Griner, C, Phoenix Mercury
Alysha Clark, F, Washington Mystics
Angel McCoughtry, G-F, Minnesota Lynx
Rookie Of The Year: Rhyne Howard
Rookies often have a tough adjustment when they enter the league. So which rookie will make their entrance and win Rookie of the Year? My prediction is Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream. The No. 1 overall draft pick impressed in her WNBA preseason debut against Washington, recording a stat line of 15 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. She struggled in the next preseason game against Connecticut, but that is to be expected against a good team. Howard will give the Dream a lift and help them improve upon last season’s lackluster campaign because of her ability to score the ball as well as defend.
ALL-ROOKIE TEAM PREDICTIONS
Rhyne Howard, G, Atlanta Dream
NaLyssa Smith, F, Indiana Fever
Shakira Austin, C-F, Washington Mystics
Emily Engstler, F, Indiana Fever
Naz Hillmon, F, Atlanta Dream
Sixth Woman of the Year: Emma Meesseman
Looking at the team rosters so far, I predict that Emma Meesseman of the Chicago Sky wins this award. The Sky have a talented starting lineup and will need someone off the bench to give them a boost and give their starters some rest. Meesseman has had some experience coming off the bench in her prior seasons with the Washington Mystics, so it won’t be too difficult of an adjustment. After all, she has done it before when she won Finals MVP off the bench in 2019. Not only that, Meesseman is a versatile player who can score in many different ways.
Most Improved Player: Jordin Canada
I think this year this award goes to Jordin Canada of the Los Angeles Sparks. After signing with the Sparks in the off-season, Canada can earn the chance for more playing time after she spent four seasons behind Sue Bird averaging 21.7 minutes per game. Being back home (she was born in Los Angeles and played for UCLA in college) can help spark her game because she will be surrounded by her support system of her family and friends. In her four-year career, her highest scoring average in a season was 9.8 points per game. I think she will have a breakout season because she will be able to help the Sparks in terms of being a reliable point guard that can help manage the offense from the starters as well as the bench. She can play a key role in providing the team with her defensive ability to get steals and then score quick baskets off of them. She hasn’t averaged more than 7.2 points per game but can increase her scoring output in Los Angeles and prove why she deserves to play more minutes
Coach of the Year: Sandy Brondello
I predict New York Liberty coach Sandy Brondello will take home this prize. I think she will implement some great plays and schemes to help her players excel. She can get Betnijah Laney to continue attacking the basket, just like she did last season. Laney made 96 free throws out of 122 free throws attempted. She can draw on one of the strengths that new addition Stefanie Dolson brings to the team. Dolson is a good three-point shooter, as she shot 40.4% last season. She can get Sabrina Ionescu to do pick and rolls with Dolson as well. These are just some of the examples she can use with her team. This will end with the Liberty improving upon last season’s 12-20 record.
Executive of the Year: James Wade
I predict that James Wade, the head coach and general manager of the Chicago Sky, wins this award. I picked him because of the star-studded roster he has constructed. He was able to re-sign Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley and signed Emma Meesseman in the off-season. That’s several All-Stars and three Final MVP’s on the roster. That’s quite impressive.
Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award: Sue Bird
This honor is given to the player who “exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court, including ethical behavior, fair play and integrity.” I predict that Sue Bird will win this award because she has been an excellent leader for her team and in her final season, I think she will display all of the qualities of this award on the court.