Here is a list of the top 10 best WNBA players of 2021-22 season.
After another long and interesting winter, the 2022 WNBA season is nearly coming to an end.
Despite coming off another Achilles tendon injury, Storm star Breanna Stewart has retained her place as the best player. Coming in just ahead of reigning MVP Jonquel Jones of the Sun and 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson of the Aces.
Overall, the talent on the list is spread out rather evenly across the league. The Aces led the way with four players, while the Mercury, Sky and Sun all had three. Nine of the 12 teams in the league had at least two players on the list. The Indiana Fever were the only team not represented.
As expected, the list once again trends older. No rookies or second-year players made the cut, and Arike Ogunbowale is the only third-year player. Meanwhile, three of the top 10 have been in the league for more than a decade.
1. Breanna Stewart
Despite a “minor” Achilles tendon surgery in the offseason and a strong challenge from reigning MVP Jonquel Jones, Stewart retains her title as the best player in the world. Few in the history of women’s basketball have ever been as gifted as Stewart. She is truly elite on both sides of the ball.
She scores, she rebounds, she defends and she has a rare combination of size, athleticism and skill. All of which allowing her to play inside or outside to equal success. Stewart is a perennial contender for every major award, and will remain so for years to come.
2. Jonquel Jones
The 2021 league MVP checks in second on this list. Based on her season-to-season improvement over the years, she could soon grab the top spot. Jones’ versatility on both ends of the floor will once again make her a contender for several awards. Even the Defensive Player of the Year. She’ll be leading a Connecticut Sun team that should be considered title contenders entering the season
3. A’ja Wilson
Wilson has been receiving MVP votes since she entered the league, and that won’t change this season. An athletic, 6’4 forward who excels on both sides of the ball, Wilson finished in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and blocks last season. She also averaged a career high in assists. Still only 25 years old and stepping into a bigger role after Liz Cambage’s departure, this could be Wilson’s best season yet.
4. Candace Parker
Parker delivered her hometown franchise its first championship last season, and while she took somewhat of a backseat to Kahleah Copper in terms of scoring, Parker is still operating at an elite level on both ends of the floor. Her veteran leadership and championship pedigree proved to be the missing piece to push the Sky over the edge last season, and Parker’s ability to still fill out every aspect of the stat sheet puts her in the company of the league’s best.
5. Jewel Loyd
Loyd has often taken the backseat to Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird in Seattle, but that says more about those two’s greatness and longevity than her own talent. Coming off the best season of her career, and her first All-WNBA First Team appearance, Loyd has established herself as the best shooting guard in the league. Her 17.9 points (seventh in the league) and 3.8 assists per game were both career highs, and she showed a marked improvement on the defensive end. She is one of the best pure scorers in the league, and will be a staple at the top of this list for years to come.
6. Courtney Vandersloot
Vandersloot started to get the appropriate amount of attention she’s long deserved last season as the orchestrator of the Sky’s championship offense. For the fifth straight season Vandersloot led the league in assists per game (8.6) and she upped her play in the postseason by averaging a double-double in Chicago’s championship run. She’s arguably the best point guard in the league, and she’ll enter the 2022 season with a championship to her name and a real chance to earn another one.
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7. Elena Delle Donne
Back in 2019, Delle Donne won MVP, became the first WNBA player to join the vaunted 50-40-90 club and led the Mystics to their first title. Since then, she’s played just three games and has undergone multiple back surgeries to address herniated discs and nerve pain. If fully healthy, she would be in the top three at worst, but it’s hard to know exactly what we’re going to get from Delle Donne this season.
8. Skylar Diggins-Smith
In the debate of the best point guard in the league, Diggins-Smith would have a very strong case. She earned All-WNBA First Team honors last season after averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 assists, an improvement from her first season with the Mercury two years ago. She stepped up while future Hall of Famer Diana Taurasi was in and out of the lineup due to injury, and was one of the main reasons the Mercury managed to make it all the way to the WNBA Finals last season.
9. Sylvia Fowles
Fowles announced that she plans to retire at the end of the season, which will bring her historic career to a close. One of the greatest players in league history, she will go out on the top of her game, having won Defensive Player of the Year and finished fourth in MVP voting last season. Her size, touch around the basket and defensive instincts make her an interior force on both sides of the ball. Hopefully she will get the send-off she deserves this season.
10. Arike Ogunbowale
Despite finishing with a 14-18 record last season, the Dallas Wings managed to earn a spot in the playoffs in large part due to the play of Ogunbowale. Since she’s entered the league, there arguably hasn’t been a player that has meant more to their team’s success than Ogunbowale, and while she may get the label of a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer, that’s more due to circumstance based on the talent around her. Ogunbowale earned an All-WNBA Second Team spot, and given that the Wings go as far as she can take them, it’s rightfully deserved.
Also read: Top 5: Performances by Stephen Curry
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