Dream’s Rhyne Howard named Rookie of the Year, leads top 3 picks on Junior Team

The Atlanta Dream They knew who they wanted in the 2022 WNBA Draft and made a deal to ensure that. Now they can officially say that they have been awarded the Rookie of the Year award.

1 seed Ryan Howard from Kentucky earned the honor Thursday with a 53-vote vote from a panel of 56 members of the WNBA’s media and broadcasters. The junior team was joined by Indiana Pfeiffer forwards Nalisa Smith and Queen Igbo, Washington Mystics center Shakira Austin and Chicago Sky guard Rebecca Gardner.

Austin received two junior votes of the year and Smith received one. Howard is the second Dream player to win this honor, joining Angel McCoughtry in 2009.

How did Ryan Howard become this year’s Rookie?

Ryan Howard

Rhyne Howard showed she’s ready pro early and won every Rookie of the Month award. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Dream earned the #1 pick in a business deal with the Washington Mystics, who took third place days before the draw. Atlanta wanted Howard, a 6-foot-2 athletic winger seen as one of the best wingers in the draft. But it came with a warning from some experts that she doesn’t have the passion or drive for big games.

“I think it has a very high ceiling, and I think a lot of people would agree with that,” said Dan Badover, general manager of Dream for the first year before the draft. First-year manager Tanisha Wright echoed this afterwards, adding that she has “a lot of potential that has yet to be tapped”.

Howard continued to prove these words true. The dream rose after two tough years to come in one place in the playoffs. Howard started every game she played.

At the beginning of her career, Howard I approached a historic outing. The following week, she lost 17 in a quarter, a WNBA record for a Novice, and went on to score the most points by a Novice in her first. Four games. She was named Eastern League Player of the Week.

Howard was selected as the reserve All-Star, which was voted on by the league’s coaches rather than a combination of fans, players and media voting. She had 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal for Wilson’s team in 15 minutes off the bench.

By the end of the season, she won every Novice award in the month from May to August. In late July, it had already crossed the 20-point mark for most games by a newbie in the history of the Dream franchise. Angel McCogtry, Britney Sykes, and Chenedy Carter each had six. Howard finished with 11.

She led all-rookies with 16.2 ppi, a mark that ranks 12th in the entire league, and ranked 4th in the league in both 3 points (2.5pg) and attempts (7.3). These numbers follow Only Kelsey Plum, Diana Taurasi, and Arike Ogunbowale. Howard added his best 2.8 starter assists and 1.6 assists per game. Her 4.8 rebounds per game ranked sixth among the juniors.

2022 WNBA All-Rookie Team

Nalissa Smith (fever): The Fever drafted Smith with pick #2, starting a major rebuilding chapter. Smith, who won a national championship at Baylor as a freshman in 2019, topped all promotions with an average of 7.9 rebounds per game, finishing sixth in the league behind him. Four former best players And Alyssa Thomas. She averaged 13.5 points, was second to Indiana behind Kelsey Mitchell, and 1.4 assists.

Shakira Austin (Mystics): The Mystics were good at switching shots because it meant they could add Austin, a Maryland native, along with Elena Delle Donne. The Ole Miss star averaged 8.7 points on 57% efficiency and 6.4 rebounds per game, ranking him second among novices. She scored 12 points in 25 minutes on her debut last week.

Rebecca Gardner (sky): There is a big asterisk next to Gardner’s name here because she is a 10-year-old professional who spent her career abroad after leaving UCLA. But this is the goalkeeper’s first season 6-1 in the W and her numbers, plus her defense, easily put her in the junior team. She averaged 8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 apg and 1.4 spg in 21.7 minutes off the bench. Her 54.2% shot percentage was only behind attacking Emma Messman in the sky.

Queen Agbo (fever): Added fever Egbo, a 6-4 striker from Baylor, with a No. 10 pick in the draft. Egbo averaged 7.2 ppg (sixth among beginners), 6.3 rpg (third) and 1.2 ppg (first). She played an average of 21.8 minutes per match and started 31 of 33 competitions. She missed her time early in the season with an ankle injury.

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